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Friday, July 29, 2011

Joe Posnanski: Saving Bonds

Pos, Bonds and the transfixed rate of Bob Costas.

My friend Bob Costas left a message for me yesterday. It was a very nice message—Bob is a great guy—but he also had a slight disagreement. Bob and I are very often on the same page when it comes to baseball, but he was reading a small essay I wrote in the magazine this week and he noticed this line:

”(Barry) Bonds and (Roger) Clemens are two of the best who ever played the game. If not for the steroid noise that surrounds them, you could make a viable argument that they are simply the two best ever.”

I should say that my thinking, when I wrote the line, was simply that if you took their numbers and performances at face value, you could make the viable argument that they are the two best ever. Bob, though, read it differently. He thought that I was actually saying without steroids Bonds and Clemens are two of the best ever, perhaps even THE two best ever. This did not bother him so much for Clemens, but it did bother him for for Bonds. He strongly disagrees.

We’ve had similar discussions before, and if I could summarize his thought, I think it goes something like this (and I am reworking this a little bit to get Bob’s opinion more precisely): Barry Bonds in 1998 was a great player. Truly great. But there was no argument to make for him as the best ever. In Bob’s words: He certainly wasn’t Ruth; he didn’t hit like Williams or Musial; as great an all-around player as he was he was not Mays and his career did not have the totality of Aaron. Bob thinks Bonds of 1998 could certainly be in the discussion as one of the 10 or 12 best non-pitchers of all time. But there was no argument for him as the very best. And there is no argument that can be made for him as the very best NOW either without steroids.

Repoz Posted: July 29, 2011 at 11:32 AM | 572 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, hall of fame, history, media, sabermetrics, television

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   301. robinred Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:03 PM (#3890185)
.** I'd vote against Manny Alexander or Jason Grimsley for the Hall of Fame for exactly the same reason, and I'm perfectly willing to vote for Bonds for the Hall of Merit.


Heh.
   302. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:17 PM (#3890195)
** I'd vote against Manny Alexander or Jason Grimsley for the Hall of Fame for exactly the same reason, and I'm perfectly willing to vote for Bonds for the Hall of Merit.

Heh.


Well, with the Hall of Merit you have exactly what the stat crowd wants: A Hall free of character baggage of all types. And until the real Hall of Fame undergoes a lobotomy at some indeterminate point down the road, what alternative is there, other than snarking and an endless procession of pinata post threads that always wind up exactly like this one?
   303. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:28 PM (#3890207)
#297: Precisely. And that goes double for the bitter-dead-Enders who say, "And he was probably using before 1998, too."
   304. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:35 PM (#3890211)
I'm "singling out steroids" only because nobody else seems willing to take the step from "possible" to "probable", and because nobody's demanding that I (or anyone else) show any "evidence" for any non-steroid factor.


As far as I can tell, your mechanism for going from possible to probable is citing Bonds's late-career surge. If it's something more than that, feel free to clarify.

I'm saying that steroids are one clear factor out of many clear factors, and you're saying that there are many possible factors but no "clear" ones.** You're welcome to imagine that steroids (or weight lifting, or diet) may have had nothing to do with Bonds's majestic late career power spikes, and therefore treat him like Dale Murphy, but AFAIC that's little more than a combination of wishful thinking and the use of irrelevant legal standards of proof.


Forget about "legal standards," since that's a red herring. What, in a nutshell, is your support?

I've emphasized steroids for the sole reason that none of those other factors violated the spirit of the game.** I'd vote against Manny Alexander or Jason Grimsley for the Hall of Fame for exactly the same reason, and I'm perfectly willing to vote for Bonds for the Hall of Merit.

**A subjective point whose definition, like "sportsmanship", is one that reasonable people may differ on, and one that's been dealt with in so many previous threads that it doesn't need to be gone over for the 1000th time. One unresolvable topic is enough. (smile)


And here you fall back on "subjective" and "reasonable people may differ." (As if all disagreement is reasonable.) But reasonable people may not differ on treating steroids and amphetamines differently for these purposes, as you do. We've been over that, but I object to your premise that "reasonable people" can differ about the two PEDs.
   305. robinred Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:36 PM (#3890212)
Well, with the Hall of Merit you have exactly what the stat crowd wants: A Hall free of character baggage of all types.


We've covered this: except for maybe 200 guys on this site, no one give a shitt about the Hall of Merit. It's a cool little project, but it is just a website that is more or less a sub-website of another website. Endlessly bringing it into HOF discussions as some sort of equivalent alternative is silly and tiresome, particularly when you frame it as a magananimous compromise as you did above.




what alternative is there,


Well, you would actually be better off doing what you always suggest your opponents should do: Trying to get the BBWAA to agree with you. Lobbying BBWAA guys by email (a la Lederer/Blyleven) to keep Bonds out of Cooperstown would be probably be a better use of your internet time on this issue than arguing with Nieporent, DiPerna and CBird about it again.
   306. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3890216)
All you're doing here is taking your personal level of skepticism about Bonds steroids and demanding that everyone else agree with it. It doesn't work that way. As you may remember, my point of reasonable certainty about Bonds wasn't reached by muscle size, cap size, bacne, or even those power spikes alone. I never said a word about any of those things before the BALCO revelations, and I've never jumped in against Bagwell, Thome, Sosa, or any of the other players whose "evidence" consists of nothing but speculation and innuendo. I don't say what I've said about Bonds lightly, or on the basis of any personal feelings against him.


But keep in mind there are two separate issues here: (1) whether Bonds used steroids, and (2) whether steroids clearly caused a significant jump in his performance. I agree that your opinion on (1) is reasonable; reasonable people can certainly conclude that Bonds used steroids. It's (2) where you come up far short of any reasonable standard of support.

I simply don't think that steroid users belong in the Hall of Fame. Period. It's purely a case of subjective opinion, and no matter how many ways you try to obfuscate the issue by bringing up irrelevant comparisons or analogies, it will always come down to that. Feel free to call me irrational, dishonest, a Roger Maris fanboy, or anything else you want, but all you're doing is preaching to a self-selected choir that's steamed that the outside world doesn't see things their way.


The main problem, as I said, is treating steroids users differently from amphetamines users in this context.
   307. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:54 PM (#3890228)
I simply don't think that steroid users belong in the Hall of Fame. Period. It's purely a case of subjective opinion, and no matter how many ways you try to obfuscate the issue by bringing up irrelevant comparisons or analogies

This makes no sense. If your stance is that Barry doesn't belong in the HOF because of steroids, full stop, then it's you who has endlessly obfuscated the issue. If there's no difference in your mind between Barry Bonds and Manny Alexander, then why bring up Bonds's numbers at all? It makes no difference in your worldview if Bonds went on an unprecedented late-career surge or if instead, he bulked up too fast, hurt humself early in 1999, and never played again.

If you would have just said at the beginning, "There's no arguing with me, as these things are subjective and I refuse to change my mind," then I, for one, wouldn't have gotten involved. I would have rolled my eyes at your intellectual laziness, scoffed to myself at your transparent bad faith in undertaking the argument in the first place when you believe that the very act of analyzing the issue is an affront to your subjectivity, and gone back to bi#ching about Jim Hendry in the Cubs threads.
   308. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:59 PM (#3890232)
We've covered this: except for maybe 200 guys on this site, no one give a shitt about the Hall of Merit. It's a cool little project, but it is just a website that is more or less a sub-website of another website. Endlessly bringing it into HOF discussions as some sort of equivalent alternative is silly and tiresome, particularly when you frame it as a magananimous compromise as you did above.
Especially since it relies on a misrepresentation of the HOM's purpose. It's not intended to exist alongside the HOF, with one institution for subjective considerations and one for objective ones, as Andy keeps pretending. It's intended to represent what the HOF should be. So telling a HOMer, "Put this guy in the HOM but not the HOF" flouts the HOM concept.
   309. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:04 PM (#3890237)
If you would have just said at the beginning, "There's no arguing with me, as these things are subjective and I refuse to change my mind," then I, for one, wouldn't have gotten involved.


Yeah, I don't know why "subjective" is trotted out by Andy. It's not like we're arguing over something like whether Bonds actually hit 73 home runs.
   310. CrosbyBird Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3890257)
I'm "singling out steroids" only because nobody else seems willing to take the step from "possible" to "probable", and because nobody's demanding that I (or anyone else) show any "evidence" for any non-steroid factor. I'm saying that steroids are one clear factor out of many clear factors, and you're saying that there are many possible factors but no "clear" ones.** You're welcome to imagine that steroids (or weight lifting, or diet) may have had nothing to do with Bonds's majestic late career power spikes, and therefore treat him like Dale Murphy, but AFAIC that's little more than a combination of wishful thinking and the use of irrelevant legal standards of proof.

The reason that nobody is demanding any evidence for the other factors is because nobody is using those other factors to pass judgment. If anyone took the position that weightlifting (or nutrition, or superior equipment) beyond a certain point produced tainted numbers and therefore players who worked out too much (or ate better, or used better bats) were unworthy of the HOF, I would demand similar evidence for the idea that this specific thing produced the numbers, and how much it mattered, and that you apply that standard consistently for all players. But nobody does that so I don't care what they think about those other factors.

All you're doing here is taking your personal level of skepticism about Bonds steroids and demanding that everyone else agree with it. It doesn't work that way.

Oh, but it does. If Casey Anderson were a great baseball player, and you claimed that she should be denied admission to the HOF because you said you were certain that she had killed her child, I would take the same position.

The moral thing to do doesn't depend on my personal level of skepticism (which is actually quite low, as I've noted before). It's simply not right to pass punitive judgment on another person when there is significant uncertainty, and no reasonable human being could deny that there is significant uncertainty on whether Bonds used steroids, or whether steroids are enhancing at all, or how enhancing steroids are (especially relative to amphetamines).

I agree that the courtroom standard is irrelevant. Demanding that you fail to pass judgment with such evidence is a moral standard, not a legal one.

As you may remember, my point of reasonable certainty about Bonds wasn't reached by muscle size, cap size, bacne, or even those power spikes alone. I never said a word about any of those things before the BALCO revelations, and I've never jumped in against Bagwell, Thome, Sosa, or any of the other players whose "evidence" consists of nothing but speculation and innuendo. I don't say what I've said about Bonds lightly, or on the basis of any personal feelings against him.

That makes you less unreasonable than people who do. Instead of passing judgment wrongly because of terrible non-evidence, you are passing judgment because of insufficient but more reasonable evidence.

I simply don't think that steroid users belong in the Hall of Fame. Period. It's purely a case of subjective opinion, and no matter how many ways you try to obfuscate the issue by bringing up irrelevant comparisons or analogies, it will always come down to that.

Again, this is not an irrelevant comparison. It is a straightforward general principle, and there's no obfuscation at all. You should not pass damaging judgment on someone until there is a very high level of certainty or there is a compelling social need to pass judgment despite the lack of evidence. I'm not comparing Bonds HOF consideration to a criminal trial, but saying that this principle applies to practically every decision that any person makes when passing judgment carries a significant price. And to me, this principle is as self-evident as "don't steal" and "don't murder."

It is not that preponderance is the default standard and we just make more serious matters have a higher standard. We accept an artificially low standard for civil cases because we greatly limit the consequences of that judgment because it is not about punishment but restitution (and a system with the limited amount of restitution that would come with the "normal" standard would result in an incredible social evil).

Feel free to call me irrational, dishonest, a Roger Maris fanboy, or anything else you want, but all you're doing is preaching to a self-selected choir that's steamed that the outside world doesn't see things their way.

I consider you similarly dishonest/irrational/whatever as a person who insists that marijuana deserves to be illegal while alcohol should be legal on the basis of the physical and social harm. And I am equally unforgiving of those people on that particular issue.

I would never say that you're a Roger Maris fanboy. I don't particularly care WHY you feel the way that you do, because it's irrelevant to the reasonableness of your position.
   311. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 03:49 PM (#3890275)
I'm "singling out steroids" only because nobody else seems willing to take the step from "possible" to "probable", and because nobody's demanding that I (or anyone else) show any "evidence" for any non-steroid factor.

As far as I can tell, your mechanism for going from possible to probable is citing Bonds's late-career surge. If it's something more than that, feel free to clarify.


Oh, I dunno, maybe a little thing known as BALCO.

And here you fall back on "subjective" and "reasonable people may differ." (As if all disagreement is reasonable.) But reasonable people may not differ on treating steroids and amphetamines differently for these purposes, as you do. We've been over that, but I object to your premise that "reasonable people" can differ about the two PEDs.

Right, Ray, anyone who disagrees with your premise about steroids and amps is by definition "unreasonable". Forgive me if I don't rise to that tired piece of bait, but you can take that particular minnow to your Church of Nodding In Agreement.

---------------------------------

Well, with the Hall of Merit you have exactly what the stat crowd wants: A Hall free of character baggage of all types.

We've covered this: except for maybe 200 guys on this site, no one give a shitt about the Hall of Merit. It's a cool little project, but it is just a website that is more or less a sub-website of another website. Endlessly bringing it into HOF discussions as some sort of equivalent alternative is silly and tiresome, particularly when you frame it as a magananimous compromise as you did above.


But the HoM isn't only "200 guys on this site", it's also a perfect representation of everyone both here and in the outside world who want the real Hall of Fame stripped of all non-statistical considerations. And as such it's a wholly legitimate alternative framework for election.

And if you think that my bringing up the HoM is "silly and tiresome", what do you think of the endless citings of Hank Aaron's greenies, Babe Ruth's goat testicles, Gaylord Perry's spitballs, and Tommy John's Tommy John surgery? Do you really think these idiotic diversions contribute anything to the discussion? Perhaps you do, but even so, don't you think they may have already run their course in terms of repetition?

---------------------------------

I simply don't think that steroid users belong in the Hall of Fame. Period. It's purely a case of subjective opinion, and no matter how many ways you try to obfuscate the issue by bringing up irrelevant comparisons or analogies

This makes no sense. If your stance is that Barry doesn't belong in the HOF because of steroids, full stop, then it's you who has endlessly obfuscated the issue. If there's no difference in your mind between Barry Bonds and Manny Alexander, then why bring up Bonds's numbers at all? It makes no difference in your worldview if Bonds went on an unprecedented late-career surge or if instead, he bulked up too fast, hurt himself early in 1999, and never played again.


Tell you what: Any time Manny Alexander gets mentioned for the Hall of Fame, I'll start mentioning Manny Alexander's numbers. And if Bonds had retired after a few games in 1999, the chances are nil that any of his steroid use would have come out to begin with.

If you would have just said at the beginning, "There's no arguing with me, as these things are subjective and I refuse to change my mind," then I, for one, wouldn't have gotten involved.

I guess everyone's got to be a virgin sometime, Brian, but I've acknowledged the subjectivity of my take on steroids for oh, about six and a half years and counting. Evidently those six and a half years passed under your state of the art North Side radar, but at least it's nice to know that now I'll have one less jar of squid ink to deal with.

---------------------------------

We've covered this: except for maybe 200 guys on this site, no one give a shitt about the Hall of Merit. It's a cool little project, but it is just a website that is more or less a sub-website of another website. Endlessly bringing it into HOF discussions as some sort of equivalent alternative is silly and tiresome, particularly when you frame it as a magananimous compromise as you did above.


Especially since it relies on a misrepresentation of the HOM's purpose. It's not intended to exist alongside the HOF, with one institution for subjective considerations and one for objective ones, as Andy keeps pretending. It's intended to represent what the HOF should be.

Right---which is a Hall of Purely Statistical Merit. That sure sounds suspiciously like the real Hall of Merit to me, which makes me wonder why arguments based on nothing but PSM aren't relegated to that domain, rather than endlessly intruding themselves into debates about candidates for the real Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

---------------------------------

If you would have just said at the beginning, "There's no arguing with me, as these things are subjective and I refuse to change my mind," then I, for one, wouldn't have gotten involved.


Yeah, I don't know why "subjective" is trotted out by Andy. It's not like we're arguing over something like whether Bonds actually hit 73 home runs.

What's subjective is how one views steroids in the context of sportsmanship and a level playing field, and in the context of other drugs and "enhancements". If you and your friends here would only acknowledge that one little eentsy weentsy point, you'd be surprised how easy it would be to persuade me to leave you to your dueling spreadsheet discussions.
   312. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:03 PM (#3890287)
I'm "singling out steroids" only because nobody else seems willing to take the step from "possible" to "probable", and because nobody's demanding that I (or anyone else) show any "evidence" for any non-steroid factor.

As far as I can tell, your mechanism for going from possible to probable is citing Bonds's late-career surge. If it's something more than that, feel free to clarify.

Oh, I dunno, maybe a little thing known as BALCO.


I wasn't talking about your conclusion that Bonds used steroids, but your conclusion that steroids was a clear factor in his late career surge.
   313. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:05 PM (#3890289)
Tell you what: Any time Manny Alexander gets mentioned for the Hall of Fame, I'll start mentioning Manny Alexander's numbers. And if Bonds had retired after a few games in 1999, the chances are nil that any of his steroid use would have come out to begin with.

What does this mean? Are Bonds's numbers relevant to you or not? You're the one who made the Manny Alexander comparison. Who's obfuscating what, now?

I guess everyone's got to be a virgin sometime, Brian, but I've acknowledged the subjectivity of my take on steroids for oh, about six and a half years and counting. Evidently those six and a half years passed under your state of the art North Side radar, but at least it's nice to know that now I'll have one less jar of squid ink to deal with.

Wow. So you're saying that I should have known better than to argue with a weasel like you over this? At least that wraps up my "transparent bad faith" charge with a bow.
   314. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:07 PM (#3890290)
The moral thing to do doesn't depend on my personal level of skepticism (which is actually quite low, as I've noted before). It's simply not right to pass punitive judgment on another person when there is significant uncertainty, and no reasonable human being could deny that there is significant uncertainty on whether Bonds used steroids, or whether steroids are enhancing at all, or how enhancing steroids are (especially relative to amphetamines).

Translation: You don't think that there's reasonable certainty that Bonds took steroids; you don't think that it's reasonably certain that they helped him in his late career power spikes; and you don't think that it's reasonably certain that they enhance performance more than amphetamines.

All of these have two things in common: They rely on a subjective interpretation of known facts; and they've been argued to death here ever since the first news of BALCO about six and a half years ago. If you want to take the position that yours is the only "reasonable" interpretation of these facts, there's nothing more I can say that's ever going to convince you otherwise, which AFAIC ends this particular part of the conversation.

Feel free to call me irrational, dishonest, a Roger Maris fanboy, or anything else you want, but all you're doing is preaching to a self-selected choir that's steamed that the outside world doesn't see things their way.

I consider you similarly dishonest/irrational/whatever as a person who insists that marijuana deserves to be illegal while alcohol should be legal on the basis of the physical and social harm. And I am equally unforgiving of those people on that particular issue.


Then I guess you'll never forgive me for distinguishing between those two forms of euphoria as well, even though I'd decriminalize marijuana myself as long as it couldn't be advertised and sold under brand names---one Big Tobacco is enough.

I would never say that you're a Roger Maris fanboy. I don't particularly care WHY you feel the way that you do, because it's irrelevant to the reasonableness of your position.

Well, I'm glad that THAT's finally out of the way, but please pass the word on to Ray with his "boyhood heroes" rhetoric.
   315. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:18 PM (#3890301)
Then I guess you'll never forgive me for distinguishing between those two forms of euphoria as well, even though I'd decriminalize marijuana myself as long as it couldn't be advertised and sold under brand names---one Big Tobacco is enough.

Veering way off topic here, but have you read Mark Kleiman's thoughts on a "grow your own" type of framework? It sure sounds like an idea I could support, although as he notes, there's basically no chance of it ever happening.
   316. base ball chick Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:18 PM (#3890302)
sigh

it is also possible that bonds was a once in a generation great BASEBALL player (regardless of any other mjoral thingys) and had a talent level - meaning God given DNA, like john brattain used to say - far FAR above the other players
(you know that a few brave guys have said ON THE RECORD - like bagwell and berkman - that barry bonds was the best player they ever saw. lots of other guys said he was on a completely different level)

and therefore it is possible that he was able to do WHATEVER he did and get more out of it than any other guy just because he was THAT much superior - and i would ask all yall to remember that he was the third best player in baseball his LAST year at age 42, steroid FREE - and i would bet he was tested ALL the freaking time

and it's like how some people have a weird allergic reaction to something that other people don't? it is also possible that barry lamar responded to what everyone else took just because he had something else the other did not have

- it was very interesting to hear snapper say he respected a baseball player who partied and "enjoyed" his time in MLB, wasting his talent than he does someone who worked his hardest every day to be the best baseball player he could POSSIBLY be

it explains why men respect and admire other men who use substances (well, except steroids because they are teh evull) and go out and manage to not suck at their jobs and even excel for a while.

- and snapper, before you judge barry bonds as a person, you should check out seriously what he has done with charities and how much he has given out of HIS OWN POCKET which is something i have not seen other ballplayers do. i didn't see anyone else offer to pick up ALL of brian shaws unpaid medical bills - all those HEroes like goody 2 shoes jeter, for example. or any other "good guys" associated in any way with either dodgers or giants

and ray and gang,

will you give it a rest with andy - jeezus GAWD you been at this SAME freaking argument for 7 years. andy has his own arbitrary line of what is ok/not ok to do to get into the HOF and you have YOUR own arbitrary lines.

like the old song goes - it's HIS opinion and you can cry if you want to cry if you want to, you do cry too when he does it to you

can't NOBODY know what exactly he did/did not take or exactly what effect LOTS of variables at the same time had on his production. you can't have more than 1 variable and make any accurate conclusion (sez like everyone who does math/science has explained to me in easy to understand words)

andy,

please PLEASE stop with the hall of merit argument, ok? it is OBVIOUSLY not an honor or important in the least to the ballplayers themselves let alone 99.999999% of baseball fans around the world so what is the difference what a bunch of math geniuses in they mama basement think about all those letter combos.

p.s. happy birthday ray
sorry i missed it but i was busy mourning the loss of my baseball team and busy wasting energy wishing ed wade/drayton mclane would be hit by a bus before they could do any more damage
   317. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3890305)
I wasn't talking about your conclusion that Bonds used steroids, but your conclusion that steroids was a clear factor in his late career surge.

You're simply demanding a form of smoking gun that by its nature is impossible to produce to your satisfaction, but you're also welcome to re-read the salient posts by both me and others who've listed comparisons between Bonds's late career power spikes and those of anyone else in baseball history. They won't convince you, but then you've been beyond convincing on nearly anything ever since you joined this site over four years ago.

-------------------------------

What does this mean? Are Bonds's numbers relevant to you or not? You're the one who made the Manny Alexander comparison. Who's obfuscating what, now?

Actually Manny Alexander's name has been dragged into so many steroid debates that by now it's in the public domain. Bonds's numbers are relevant in adding to the case that he took steroids and was aided by them in his autumn years power surge, but they're not relevant to anything else in particular, other than a discussion of where he ranks among the all-time greats if one takes steroids into consideration.

I guess everyone's got to be a virgin sometime, Brian, but I've acknowledged the subjectivity of my take on steroids for oh, about six and a half years and counting. Evidently those six and a half years passed under your state of the art North Side radar, but at least it's nice to know that now I'll have one less jar of squid ink to deal with.

Wow. So you're saying that I should have known better than to argue with a weasel like you over this?


No, but in the future you might want to better acquaint yourself with a person's past opinions on a subject (six and a half years' worth) before expecting that he repeat those opinions for the umpteenth time just because you hadn't previously been paying attention. If nothing else, it'll spare you the rhetorical questions, and you can return to fretting about your beloved Cubbies.
   318. LionoftheSenate (Pirates v A's World Series) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3890306)
In Bob’s words: He certainly wasn’t Ruth; he didn’t hit like Williams or Musial; as great an all-around player as he was he was not Mays and his career did not have the totality of Aaron.


Just read the article and let me point this out. Costas needs to use 5 of the very best players of all time to deconstruct Bonds. He needed 5, all-time greats to defeat Bonds in an argument. I think that says all you need to know how great Bonds was.
   319. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3890307)
Automatic denial of induction to the Hall of Fame strikes me as a highly disproportionate sanction for pre-testing era steroid use. It's the baseball equivalent of cruel and unusual punishment.

From ca. 1997 to 2004, more than half of major leaguers were using steroids, and, beyond the hypertechnical and ex post nonsense in the Mitchell Report, their use was not against baseball rules. While the impulse to try to retroactively make right all that was wrong with that era makes perfect sense, it's simply unfair -- and, frankly, somewhat tawdry -- to do it on the backs of the era's great players. The right place to start is by keeping Bud Selig and the era's owners out of the Hall; they were the ones who looked the other way and made the sport a cheapjack circus, and they were the ones who took financial advantage of the circus.
   320. McCoy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#3890311)
Then I guess you'll never forgive me for distinguishing between those two forms of euphoria as well, even though I'd decriminalize marijuana myself as long as it couldn't be advertised and sold under brand names---one Big Tobacco is enough.

In the age of the internet this is practically useless and might even be downright dangerous.
   321. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:35 PM (#3890316)
p.s. happy birthday ray
sorry i missed it but i was busy mourning the loss of my baseball team and busy wasting energy wishing ed wade/drayton mclane would be hit by a bus before they could do any more damage


Thanks, Lisa. But actually, you haven't missed it yet. It's Friday :-) So I get to be 37 for another few days.
   322. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:36 PM (#3890318)
Veering way off topic here, but have you read Mark Kleiman's thoughts on a "grow your own" type of framework? It sure sounds like an idea I could support, although as he notes, there's basically no chance of it ever happening.

It's certainly a much better plan than the one we've got now, that's for sure.

---------------------------

and ray and gang,

will you give it a rest with andy - jeezus GAWD you been at this SAME freaking argument for 7 years. andy has his own arbitrary line of what is ok/not ok to do to get into the HOF and you have YOUR own arbitrary lines.


Thank you, Lisa. Nice to see that someone other than me understands this.

andy,

please PLEASE stop with the hall of merit argument, ok? it is OBVIOUSLY not an honor or important in the least to the ballplayers themselves let alone 99.999999% of baseball fans around the world so what is the difference what a bunch of math geniuses in they mama basement think about all those letter combos.


Lisa, for you I'll drop it, at least for this thread. But I'd also suggest that others recognize that the Hall of Fame does contain a character clause, and that so far it appears that at least 75% of the writers have found that steroids are relevant to its invocation.

sorry i missed it but i was busy mourning the loss of my baseball team

Wait, did the Disastros move to Long Island or Beijing? I've really got to keep up better with what goes on in those five non-ALE divisions.
   323. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3890321)
You're simply demanding a form of smoking gun that by its nature is impossible to produce to your satisfaction, but you're also welcome to re-read the salient posts by both me and others who've listed comparisons between Bonds's late career power spikes and those of anyone else in baseball history. They won't convince you, but then you've been beyond convincing on nearly anything ever since you joined this site over four years ago.


They convince me as much as Manny Alexander's power spikes convince you that steroids have no effect.

Again, the evidence points in all directions. If we replaced "used steroids" with "favorite color is blue" we'd see no more of a pattern.
   324. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:38 PM (#3890322)
No, but in the future you might want to better acquaint yourself with a person's past opinions on a subject (six and a half years' worth) before expecting that he repeat those opinions for the umpteenth time just because you hadn't previously been paying attention.

Too funny ... "I've been repeating this stuff for six and a half years, don't make me say it again!"

Somehow, I suspect you'll find a way to repeat yourself a few more times, with or without my help.
   325. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:47 PM (#3890332)
Then I guess you'll never forgive me for distinguishing between those two forms of euphoria as well, even though I'd decriminalize marijuana myself as long as it couldn't be advertised and sold under brand names---one Big Tobacco is enough.

In the age of the internet this is practically useless and might even be downright dangerous.


Then caveat emptor. I never touch the stuff myself.

But it's like gambling: My main objection isn't to the gambling itself (duh), but to the use of media (and especially by governments) to promote it and "grow the market" beyond its otherwise relatively small constituency. In 67 years I've yet to see a more offensive (if also hilarious) ad than the one that the DC Lottery ran about 15 years ago right before MLK's birthday. It showed a large photo of Dr. King, and underneath it ran the words, HE, TOO, HAD A DREAM. DC LOTTERY
   326. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 04:49 PM (#3890334)
Too funny ... "I've been repeating this stuff for six and a half years, don't make me say it again!"

Somehow, I suspect you'll find a way to repeat yourself a few more times, with or without my help.


Possibly so, but at least from now on I know I'll be doing it without your help.
   327. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3890347)
But it's like gambling: My main objection isn't to the gambling itself (duh), but to the use of media (and especially by governments) to promote it and "grow the market" beyond its otherwise relatively small constituency.
Yes, there's nothing wrong with doing it, but telling people about it is beyond the pale. Damn that free speech.
   328. AROM Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:10 PM (#3890354)
I found this interesting, a few pages ago, from RonJ:

Aaron gained by a late career change in conditions (mound height), so in an odd way did Bonds. The change in the strike zone (to be specific calling a higher strike) allowed Bonds to discover that despite being the best low ball hitter in the league he seems to have been a better high ball hitter. He had no reason to know this. A lot of pitches he hit out in his late surge were pitches he'd have taken earlier in his career -- they weren't strikes and Bonds never swung at strikes.


I'm pretty sure he meant to say "balls" instead of "strikes" for the last word. But otherwise interesting. I really wish we had pitch f/x data for Barry's career, if I had that I could check in a few minutes whether this theory holds any truth. Another option is to use the video links in Hittracker, but unfortunately the MLB highlight videos from 2007 and before aren't active anymore. Not that it would do anything to help compare 1998 to 2001 or anything.

Count me among those who don't give a damn if Bonds gets Andy's HOM vote or not. Once he's in the Hall of Merit, he's got the approval of a few hundred people, and this is recorded on a website. Big deal. Barry Bonds was the greatest hitter I ever saw. I want him in Cooperstown. I want to see the arrogant, jerktastic SOB go on stage, look over at his aging godfather as he takes his place among the greats, and be humbled. And I have no doubt he will. I want his plaque in the room with other greats like Ty Cobb and Gaylord Perry. Sure, he used steroids. And he did great things that no other steroid filled player did, hitting balls thrown by steroid using pitchers.
   329. base ball chick Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3890371)
Jolly Old St. Neck Wound, Moral Idiot Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:36 PM (#3890318)

and ray and gang,

will you give it a rest with andy - jeezus GAWD you been at this SAME freaking argument for 7 years. andy has his own arbitrary line of what is ok/not ok to do to get into the HOF and you have YOUR own arbitrary lines.

Thank you, Lisa. Nice to see that someone other than me understands this.

...Hall of Fame does contain a character clause, and that so far it appears that at least 75% of the writers have found that steroids are relevant to its invocation.


- it is kind of like me not understanding why on EARTH some guy would think the deschanel females are supposed to be attractive. or pamela anderson. or any female with dyed blond hair and silicone parts
- or even me explaining why jayson werth is HOTTTTT (and would be if he worked at fixing air conditioners which is what he looks like he does) when he is WAAAAYYYY too tall and WAAAAYYY too hairy and WAAAAYYYY too White

- not every opinion has to stand up to a Logic Puzzle Exam





sorry i missed it but i was busy mourning the loss of my baseball team

Wait, did the Disastros move to Long Island or Beijing? I've really got to keep up better with what goes on in those five non-ALE divisions.


- the lastros would really be best off if they DID move to some foreign country like long island or china
- if you wanna know what happened, read every post on my blog over the past 4 days and all the pence/bourn/wade threads the past 4 days

see my new and improved handle
   330. CrosbyBird Posted: August 01, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3890381)
Translation: You don't think that there's reasonable certainty that Bonds took steroids; you don't think that it's reasonably certain that they helped him in his late career power spikes; and you don't think that it's reasonably certain that they enhance performance more than amphetamines.

Incorrect translation.

Correct translation: no rational human being could be reasonably certain enough for it to be morally appropriate to pass a damaging judgment on these issues.

All of these have two things in common: They rely on a subjective interpretation of known facts; and they've been argued to death here ever since the first news of BALCO about six and a half years ago. If you want to take the position that yours is the only "reasonable" interpretation of these facts, there's nothing more I can say that's ever going to convince you otherwise, which AFAIC ends this particular part of the conversation.

On that prong, you're correct. I'm speaking of the immorality of passing a damaging judgment on other people without a very high level of certainty. There's no real negotiation there.

Although I would also say that there is a non-subjective part of the argument that people pretend is objective. If someone says "steroids are more performance-enhancing than amphetamines" then they are making a claim of fact. If someone says "Barry Bonds could not have had this performance without steroids" then they are making a claim of fact. You can't hide behind "that's just what I believe" because this isn't a subjective thing... either steroids are more enhancing or they are not, and either Bonds could have put up those numbers unaided or he could not have.

These aren't differences of opinion. These are differences of fact. What I can't ever respect is pretending that these issues of fact are subjective, or the intellectual laziness that comes with insisting with certainty about something that is uncertain.

Then I guess you'll never forgive me for distinguishing between those two forms of euphoria as well, even though I'd decriminalize marijuana myself as long as it couldn't be advertised and sold under brand names---one Big Tobacco is enough.

Do you think alcohol should be similarly restricted? If you do, I'm perfectly fine with your position despite disagreement.

If not, you had better demonstrate why alcohol is safer.

Well, I'm glad that THAT's finally out of the way, but please pass the word on to Ray with his "boyhood heroes" rhetoric.

My discussion with you is distinct from your discussion with Ray. I think I've been clear enough that I don't support that sort of argument. I wish nobody ever brought that up because it provides nothing positive and creates noise.
   331. BDC Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:07 PM (#3890404)
Odd as it is to find myself agreeing with SBB :) I've been coming round to the position in #319. Steroid use was winked at for quite a while, was widespread, and was de facto within the ethical norms of the game. Everyone on steroids was trying hard to win – unlike say, Hal Chase or the Black Sox.

As to those caught after testing came in (Palmeiro, Ramirez): unlike gambling on your own games, steroid use is still tolerable in baseball. You get a long suspension and then you are free to return, play, manage, do whatever. It seems to me that paying the price for a transgression clears your slate, in effect. If teams are free to hire Rafael Palmeiro as a hitting coach, then it seems to me he should be eligible for the Hall of Fame.

And I'd treat everyone's record at face value, because really, nobody has the slightest foggiest idea how those years would have played out minus steroids. Why twist your brain into knots trying to imagine it?
   332. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3890450)
Odd as it is to find myself agreeing with SBB :) I've been coming round to the position in #319. Steroid use was winked at for quite a while, was widespread, and was de facto within the ethical norms of the game.
And, as I've pointed out repeatedly, was de jure legal within the rules and in some cases de jure legal in the legal system. (It was de facto winked at by the legal system, too, btw.)
Everyone on steroids was trying hard to win – unlike say, Hal Chase or the Black Sox.

As to those caught after testing came in (Palmeiro, Ramirez): unlike gambling on your own games, steroid use is still tolerable in baseball. You get a long suspension and then you are free to return, play, manage, do whatever.
Exactly. Even if it were "cheating," cheating is not the same thing as throwing games. "The games are rigged" is very different than "my team is trying too hard." Baseball has always recognized that; throwing games is a permanent ban, while any form of cheating is a few game suspension.

It seems to me that paying the price for a transgression clears your slate, in effect. If teams are free to hire Rafael Palmeiro as a hitting coach, then it seems to me he should be eligible for the Hall of Fame.
I don't think that last sentence resolves anything, because Andy would say that he agrees that they should be eligible; he just doesn't think people should vote for them.

And I'd treat everyone's record at face value, because really, nobody has the slightest foggiest idea how those years would have played out minus steroids. Why twist your brain into knots trying to imagine it?
Agreed. And notwithstanding the faux moral outrage out there, it's all about the records.
   333. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 01, 2011 at 06:57 PM (#3890452)
I found this interesting, a few pages ago, from RonJ:

AROM, thanks for calling out this point by RonJ. It is very intriguing, and as I read it I thought, "wow, I may have actually learned something in Bonds thread."
   334. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:11 PM (#3890463)
But it's like gambling: My main objection isn't to the gambling itself (duh), but to the use of media (and especially by governments) to promote it and "grow the market" beyond its otherwise relatively small constituency.

Yes, there's nothing wrong with doing it, but telling people about it is beyond the pale. Damn that free speech.


Since the concept of conflicting values has never once entered your consciousness, I'm not sure how to respond to that in a way that might ever meet with your approval. I do think that one can feel qualms about promoting a product without wanting to see it criminalized, but obviously you don't agree.

------------------------

Count me among those who don't give a damn if Bonds gets Andy's HOM vote or not.

That's cool, since the only HoF votes that matter to me are those of the BBWAA and not anyone here on BTF. And even there, if Bonds gets his 75% it would signal a sea change in the whole way that steroids are viewed, and I'd view it as being entirely legitimate as an expression of of that change. At that point I'd take off my hat and say that you've won the war.

------------------------

Although I would also say that there is a non-subjective part of the argument that people pretend is objective. If someone says "steroids are more performance-enhancing than amphetamines" then they are making a claim of fact. If someone says "Barry Bonds could not have had this performance without steroids" then they are making a claim of fact. You can't hide behind "that's just what I believe" because this isn't a subjective thing... either steroids are more enhancing or they are not, and either Bonds could have put up those numbers unaided or he could not have.

These aren't differences of opinion. These are differences of fact. What I can't ever respect is pretending that these issues of fact are subjective, or the intellectual laziness that comes with insisting with certainty about something that is uncertain.


Of course what you're talking about is merely your own subjective interpretation of those facts. which you'll obviously never acknowledge. But that's fine; too each his own, and be as happy in your closed circle certitude as I am in my freely acknowledged subjective interpretation.

Then I guess you'll never forgive me for distinguishing between those two forms of euphoria as well, even though I'd decriminalize marijuana myself as long as it couldn't be advertised and sold under brand names---one Big Tobacco is enough.

Do you think alcohol should be similarly restricted? If you do, I'm perfectly fine with your position despite disagreement.

If not, you had better demonstrate why alcohol is safer.


I know it's insane to discuss something like this with a "principle" obsessed libertarian, but I'd allow alcohol advertising and not marijuana advertising for one main reason: With alcohol, the cat's already out of the bag, whereas with marijuana that's not the case. There's no particular reason of health or principle to distinguish the two products, but I see little point in encouraging weed versions of R.J. Reynolds to figure out ways to make pot smoking a regular habit for people who otherwise would never have thought of it. As I said, one Big Tobacco is enough.

-----------------------------------

Odd as it is to find myself agreeing with SBB :) I've been coming round to the position in #319. Steroid use was winked at for quite a while, was widespread, and was de facto within the ethical norms of the game. Everyone on steroids was trying hard to win – unlike say, Hal Chase or the Black Sox.

As to those caught after testing came in (Palmeiro, Ramirez): unlike gambling on your own games, steroid use is still tolerable in baseball. You get a long suspension and then you are free to return, play, manage, do whatever. It seems to me that paying the price for a transgression clears your slate, in effect. If teams are free to hire Rafael Palmeiro as a hitting coach, then it seems to me he should be eligible for the Hall of Fame.

And I'd treat everyone's record at face value, because really, nobody has the slightest foggiest idea how those years would have played out minus steroids. Why twist your brain into knots trying to imagine it?


That's a perfectly well put expression of another legitimate subjective viewpoint, and if you can convince enough writers to agree with you, you've got a winner.

And I'll say this: As soon as the first known juicer gets into Cooperstown, I'd vote for any other one of them who was otherwise statistically qualified. No "steroid discounts" for Raffy or McGwire; without the juice AFAIC they're both slam dunks.
   335. Ron J Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:12 PM (#3890464)
#333 (and Sean earlier) I don't want to take too much credit for this observation. I advanced it as a thesis years ago, but it was Brock Hanke who did the heavy lifting -- actually going through the archives at MLB.com

And yes, AROM I still need that editor. I did in fact mean to say he didn't swing at pitches that would be called a ball.
   336. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3890481)
And I'll say this: As soon as the first known juicer gets into Cooperstown, I'd vote for any other one of them who was otherwise statistically qualified. No "steroid discounts" for Raffy or McGwire; without the juice AFAIC they're both slam dunks.


I'm intrigued by this. First, it is very, very likely that a "juicer" is in already. Who cares if he's "known"? Do you think that zero of the players in the Hall ever touched a steroid? If you don't, then why do you care if the player has been outed?

More importantly, why would you change your mind and start supporting steroids users based on precedent? The existing precedent, before steroids users came up, was always that character didn't matter to the voters. Why would you honor new "precedent" but not longstanding precedent?
   337. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2011 at 08:04 PM (#3890509)
I'm intrigued by this. First, it is very, very likely that a "juicer" is in already. Who cares if he's "known"? Do you think that zero of the players in the Hall ever touched a steroid? If you don't, then why do you care if the player has been outed?

I'm intrigued as well. It sounds like Andy's position isn't, "If you juiced, you have no business in the Hall of Fame," but instead, "The Hall of Fame should be the one institution that -- in an entirely corporate sense, when all others have failed -- stands unambiguously against steroid use in major league baseball."
   338. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 08:54 PM (#3890553)
I'm intrigued by this. First, it is very, very likely that a "juicer" is in already. Who cares if he's "known"? Do you think that zero of the players in the Hall ever touched a steroid? If you don't, then why do you care if the player has been outed?

More importantly, why would you change your mind and start supporting steroids users based on precedent? The existing precedent, before steroids users came up, was always that character didn't matter to the voters. Why would you honor new "precedent" but not longstanding precedent?
You're talking to someone who thinks logic is a character flaw, and you're asking why he thinks what he does? After spending five years denouncing Bonds/steroids, just a few paragraphs above the one that intrigued you he said that if Bonds gets elected he'd suddenly change his mind on the subject.
   339. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:00 PM (#3890557)
And I'll say this: As soon as the first known juicer gets into Cooperstown, I'd vote for any other one of them who was otherwise statistically qualified. No "steroid discounts" for Raffy or McGwire; without the juice AFAIC they're both slam dunks.

I'm intrigued by this. First, it is very, very likely that a "juicer" is in already. Who cares if he's "known"?


I do. Do you have any current HoF members in mind? Since I'll give you credit for not joining the yahoos who seize upon cap sizes or simply credit rumors, I'd like to know exactly who's snuck in there. Just saying "it is very, very likely" isn't exactly the sort of evidence that you've been famous for requiring before naming Bonds.

More importantly, why would you change your mind and start supporting steroids users based on precedent? The existing precedent, before steroids users came up, was always that character didn't matter to the voters. Why would you honor new "precedent" but not longstanding precedent?

Because unlike most people here---horrors, another subjective opinion about to be voiced---I don't see steroids as being in a continuum with all those other trivial "character flaws" that people here have so repeatedly cited as equivalent in magnitude.

No question that if "character" had historically included off-the-field demerits, the standards would be entirely different, but the only precedent that's really been applied up to now is the Jackson / Rose / McGwire precedent that "character" only relates to the gravest of actions that directly sullied the game on the field. You can argue with their judgment and their interpretation of "gravest" all you want, but so far there's no evidence that they'd be buying it.

Which then brings us back to your old line about steroids being no different from other PEDs, and in the long shot that you actually care whether or not the Bondses and the McGwires get elected to the Hall of Fame, you've still got almost a year and a half to start contacting the only people whose opinions really matter, and start crooning your "steroids are no different from greenies" serenade to them. You might not win many of them over by telling them how dishonest and illogical they are if they should happen to disagree with you, but WTH, I know you'll always keep it real.

-------------------------------------

I'm intrigued as well. It sounds like Andy's position isn't, "If you juiced, you have no business in the Hall of Fame," but instead, "The Hall of Fame should be the one institution that -- in an entirely corporate sense, when all others have failed -- stands unambiguously against steroid use in major league baseball."

I don't see why the latter position should exclude the former, nor do I see why the latter position shouldn't simply be seen as a symbolic way of expressing baseball's view of steroids. You're perfectly free to create an alternate Hall of Fame in your own mind, should you find the real one lacking in Christian compassion, or an insufficient genuflection before awesome statistics, or whatever else there may be about that stuffy old institution that sticks in your sensitive craw.
   340. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:08 PM (#3890560)
You're talking to someone who thinks logic is a character flaw, and you're asking why he thinks what he does? After spending five years denouncing Bonds/steroids, just a few paragraphs above the one that intrigued you he said that if Bonds gets elected he'd suddenly change his mind on the subject.

You can ridicule this all you want, but FWIW I've expressed this sentiment more than a few times in the past. Unlike you, I tend to respect the HoF's institutional judgment, even if I don't agree with all the writers' selections.

And don't faint in shock, but I might even think that the BBWAA knows a bit more about preserving baseball's institutional integrity than a random collection of Primates who fixate on nothing but statistics. Having expressed that most heretical of heresies, I just don't know how I can ever live with myself.
   341. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:22 PM (#3890574)
I don't see why the latter position should exclude the former, nor do I see why the latter position shouldn't simply be seen as a symbolic way of expressing baseball's view of steroids. You're perfectly free to create an alternate Hall of Fame in your own mind, should you find the real one lacking in Christian compassion, or an insufficient genuflection before awesome statistics, or whatever else there may be about that stuffy old institution that sticks in your sensitive craw.

Because it sounds like you're indifferent as between one and one thousand juicers and therefore, it's not the juicing that most concerns you, but rather the solidity of resistance of a single institution. It's as if the Hall should set up a Maginot Line, and if there's a minor break, unconditionally surrender.
   342. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:38 PM (#3890585)
I'm intrigued by this. First, it is very, very likely that a "juicer" is in already. Who cares if he's "known"?

I do. Do you have any current HoF members in mind? Since I'll give you credit for not joining the yahoos who seize upon cap sizes or simply credit rumors, I'd like to know exactly who's snuck in there. Just saying "it is very, very likely" isn't exactly the sort of evidence that you've been famous for requiring before naming Bonds.


No, I don't know "exactly who's snuck in there." That's why I said it was _likely_ a steroids user is there. I swear sometimes, for all of your intelligence (and I do agree you're bright and articulate), you can't read or understand commonly used words.

Anyway, as to specific HOFers, it's just like sizing up MLB players of the 90s as a whole: we know a large percentage of the league was using - we just don't know specifically who. But we know enough to say that anyone claiming we know that a particular player (Jeter; Rivera) didn't use is full of it.

I am comfortable saying there are a number of players in the Hall who used steroids. Steroids have been around half a century, and we know that the players from the 60s and 70s and beyond weren't shy about popping greenies/etc. in order to play better.

Because unlike most people here---horrors, another subjective opinion about to be voiced---I don't see steroids as being in a continuum with all those other trivial "character flaws" that people here have so repeatedly cited as equivalent in magnitude.


Your position is really odd. It's one thing to hold the position "steroids is cheating and I will never support these cheaters." But to hold the position "steroids is cheating and I will never support these cheaters... unless one of them gets in, and then I will support all of them."

That would be like me suddenly supporting Jim Rice type players just because Rice got in.
   343. AROM Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:47 PM (#3890594)
Canseco has stated that a roider has already been inducted. Eckersley and Henderson were teammates for a few years. Between the two of them I'd bet on Eck. Puckett? We know he wasn't the goody two shoes the media made him out to be while active. Ripken?

Just pure speculation. But I'd laugh my ass off for two months straight if it turned out Jim Rice tried Roids.
   344. Gonfalon B. Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:49 PM (#3890596)
In 67 years I've yet to see a more offensive (if also hilarious) ad than the one that the DC Lottery ran about 15 years ago right before MLK's birthday. It showed a large photo of Dr. King, and underneath it ran the words, HE, TOO, HAD A DREAM. DC LOTTERY

I'll go with the McDonald's 99-cent promotion for Black History Month about 20 years ago: "Keep Your Eyes on the Fries."
   345. Dan Szymborski Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:56 PM (#3890601)
I'm kinda curious now as to what Andy's position on gay marriage is. Would Andy be cool with governments not acknowledging gay marriages if there was an internet site somewhere that kept their own list of acknowledged marriages?
   346. robinred Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:58 PM (#3890605)
But the HoM isn't only "200 guys on this site", it's also a perfect representation of everyone both here and in the outside world who want the real Hall of Fame stripped of all non-statistical considerations. And as such it's a wholly legitimate alternative framework for election.


When the HOM is housed in a building, the players have heard about it and want in, and the ceremony is televised nationally and attended by thousands, get back to me. Until then, it's a website.

And if you think that my bringing up the HoM is "silly and tiresome", what do you think of the endless citings of Hank Aaron's greenies, Babe Ruth's goat testicles, Gaylord Perry's spitballs, and Tommy John's Tommy John surgery? Do you really think these idiotic diversions contribute anything to the discussion? Perhaps you do, but even so, don't you think they may have already run their course in terms of repetition?


Sure. But the way you use the HOM is different than the way those things are used.
   347. Dan Szymborski Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:59 PM (#3890607)
will you give it a rest with andy - jeezus GAWD you been at this SAME freaking argument for 7 years. andy has his own arbitrary line of what is ok/not ok to do to get into the HOF and you have YOUR own arbitrary lines.

There may be some children that read the site and we have a duty to protect logic for them.
   348. Gonfalon B. Posted: August 01, 2011 at 09:59 PM (#3890608)
I'm intrigued by this. First, it is very, very likely that a "juicer" is in already. Who cares if he's "known"?

I do. Do you have any current HoF members in mind? Since I'll give you credit for not joining the yahoos who seize upon cap sizes or simply credit rumors, I'd like to know exactly who's snuck in there. Just saying "it is very, very likely" isn't exactly the sort of evidence that you've been famous for requiring before naming Bonds.

No, I don't know "exactly who's snuck in there." That's why I said it was _likely_ a steroids user is there. I swear sometimes, for all of your intelligence (and I do agree you're bright and articulate), you can't read or understand commonly used words.


Based on some of the arguments on this thread, a good place to start the scavenger hunt for secret witches would be with "UNPRECEDENTED" performance. 2,632, 5,714, 1,406, and so forth... since the vehemence is so disproportionately about 62, 73 and 762. Numbers über alles.
   349. robinred Posted: August 01, 2011 at 10:06 PM (#3890611)
Lisa, for you I'll drop it, at least for this thread. But I'd also suggest that others recognize that the Hall of Fame does contain a character clause, and that so far it appears that at least 75% of the writers have found that steroids are relevant to its invocation


You have made this point many times. But the HOM in the context of your argument has jackshit to do with the HOF--which has been the point all along. If you want to call guys out on trying to make the HOF into something it's not, and remind them that some guys in BBWAA are not going to vote players in based on steroids, fine. But you can easily do that without the "put him in HOM" line. Lisa is sick of it; on a thread long ago, Srul seconded my point about it. That should tell you something.
   350. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 10:13 PM (#3890615)
And if you think that my bringing up the HoM is "silly and tiresome", what do you think of the endless citings of Hank Aaron's greenies, Babe Ruth's goat testicles, Gaylord Perry's spitballs, and Tommy John's Tommy John surgery? Do you really think these idiotic diversions contribute anything to the discussion? Perhaps you do, but even so, don't you think they may have already run their course in terms of repetition?


I realize that logical counter-arguments (e.g., Aaron and Perry) present a problem for your position that one form of "cheating" is Bad, but others are totally cool -- but classifying them as "endless citings" and "idiotic diversions" isn't actually an argument. Why don't they, in your view, "contribute anything to the discussion"? That's the point.
   351. robinred Posted: August 01, 2011 at 10:34 PM (#3890621)
Ray, I think Andy has answered that about 30-40 times. It's fine that you think he's wrong, but he has explained why at length.
   352. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 01, 2011 at 10:35 PM (#3890622)
You have made this point many times. But the HOM in the context of your argument has jackshit to do with the HOF--which has been the point all along. If you want to call guys out on trying to make the HOF into something it's not, and remind them that some guys in BBWAA are not going to vote players in based on steroids, fine. But you can easily do that without the "put him in HOM" line. Lisa is sick of it; on a thread long ago, Srul seconded my point about it. That should tell you something.


The HOM thing is truly one of the more bizarre arguments on this site. Did anyone argue to Ron Santo: "Gee, Ron, I know you didn't get elected to the Hall of Fame. But there is something called the Hall of Merit that completely makes up for that. Congratulations!"
   353. Brian C Posted: August 01, 2011 at 10:49 PM (#3890627)
If someone says "Barry Bonds could not have had this performance without steroids" then they are making a claim of fact.

That doesn't sound like a claim of fact to me. It sounds like a hypothetical, which inherently requires subjective weighting of probabilities.
   354. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 02, 2011 at 12:38 AM (#3890699)
I don't see why the latter position should exclude the former, nor do I see why the latter position shouldn't simply be seen as a symbolic way of expressing baseball's view of steroids. You're perfectly free to create an alternate Hall of Fame in your own mind, should you find the real one lacking in Christian compassion, or an insufficient genuflection before awesome statistics, or whatever else there may be about that stuffy old institution that sticks in your sensitive craw.

Because it sounds like you're indifferent as between one and one thousand juicers and therefore, it's not the juicing that most concerns you, but rather the solidity of resistance of a single institution. It's as if the Hall should set up a Maginot Line, and if there's a minor break, unconditionally surrender.


For reasons of space, I'll use this to answer others who've made the same point.

I'm not sure what's so hard to understand. If the writers decide to elect a known juicer (e.g. Bonds), how would that constitute a "minor break"? It would be a 180 degree reversal of the only known precedent. At that point, how could they hold the line against the next juicer? It would make no sense at all.

As to whether any juicers are already in the Hall, I'll leave it up to you Sherlock Hemlocks to out them with something beyond speculative percentages. That sort of BS doesn't interest me.

-------------------------------

In 67 years I've yet to see a more offensive (if also hilarious) ad than the one that the DC Lottery ran about 15 years ago right before MLK's birthday. It showed a large photo of Dr. King, and underneath it ran the words, HE, TOO, HAD A DREAM. DC LOTTERY

I'll go with the McDonald's 99-cent promotion for Black History Month about 20 years ago: "Keep Your Eyes on the Fries."


I'd put that a distant third to the DC Lottery and a 1997 double window sized ad for the Montgomery County (MD) RideOn buses. These came out just a few weeks after Princess Di's inglorious ending, and it showed an enormous head and shoulder shot of her staring out at the street below, with the caption reading "THIS SURE BEATS DRIVING". That one had me cackling for weeks.

-------------------------------

I'm kinda curious now as to what Andy's position on gay marriage is. Would Andy be cool with governments not acknowledging gay marriages if there was an internet site somewhere that kept their own list of acknowledged marriages?

In turn I'm curious if that's a backhanded way of advocating that the government take over the Hall of Fame.

-------------------------------

Ray, I think Andy has answered that about 30-40 times. It's fine that you think he's wrong, but he has explained why at length.

Since Ray seldom bothers to read more than a sentence or two of anything I write, I'm not sure why you'd expect him to absorb an entire explanation. It may have something to do with the famously limited attention span of the sub-38 younger generation, but more likely it's just a byproduct of his general lack of interest in any POV that doesn't parrot his own.

-------------------------------

The HOM thing is truly one of the more bizarre arguments on this site. Did anyone argue to Ron Santo: "Gee, Ron, I know you didn't get elected to the Hall of Fame. But there is something called the Hall of Merit that completely makes up for that. Congratulations!"

Somehow in the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure whether Barry Bonds would be any more consoled by being elected to the BTF Hall of Fame than he'd be consoled by being elected to the BTF Hall of Merit. It's like the difference between being the Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, or being the deputy armadillo catcher of Tumbleweed, Texas.

But then you never know. As I write these words, there are 293 lurkers hovering over our favorite site, and who knows, the Flaxseed Oil King may well be among them. At the very least, you can't say that it's clear that he isn't.
   355. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 02, 2011 at 12:59 AM (#3890716)
Andy, much of your 354 isn't actually responsive. As to the part that was:

I'm not sure what's so hard to understand. If the writers decide to elect a known juicer (e.g. Bonds), how would that constitute a "minor break"? It would be a 180 degree reversal of the only known precedent. At that point, how could they hold the line against the next juicer? It would make no sense at all.


Again, you're misrepresenting what the "precedent" has been. Historically, character wasn't an issue, and neither was PED use, until we got to steroids. And then suddenly people were outraged.

But you're only outraged as long as no "known juicer" is in. Once a "known juicer" is in, all outrage will cease for you.

As to whether any juicers are already in the Hall, I'll leave it up to you Sherlock Hemlocks to out them with something beyond speculative percentages. That sort of BS doesn't interest me.


The question was simple: Do you think it's likely that someone is in the Hall who used a steroid? (And I'm not asking whether the question "interests" you, only what your best guess is.)
   356. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 02, 2011 at 02:57 AM (#3890851)
These aren't differences of opinion. These are differences of fact.

Apparently, you and Andy have a difference of opinion about what constitutes a fact.
   357. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:24 AM (#3890860)
Andy, much of your 354 isn't actually responsive. As to the part that was:

I'm not sure what's so hard to understand. If the writers decide to elect a known juicer (e.g. Bonds), how would that constitute a "minor break"? It would be a 180 degree reversal of the only known precedent. At that point, how could they hold the line against the next juicer? It would make no sense at all.


Again, you're misrepresenting what the "precedent" has been. Historically, character wasn't an issue, and neither was PED use, until we got to steroids. And then suddenly people were outraged.

Ray, how could there have been any "precedent" for steroids when McGwire was the first known juicer to appear on a ballot? Your problem is that you simply refuse to grant any legitimacy to the writers' viewpoint that steroids are fundamentally different from any other drug or any other "performance enhancer", and uniquely disqualifying. You disagree with that POV, and that's fine, but at some point your insistence on your repeatedly proclaimed "logic" might be accompanied by an acknowledgment that yours is a distinctly minority viewpoint.

But you're only outraged as long as no "known juicer" is in. Once a "known juicer" is in, all outrage will cease for you.

Here's one of the many differences between us on this question: I don't want juicers in the Hall of Fame, but I also respect the decision of 75% of the voters. And if (say) Barry Bonds gets elected in 2013, it would seem kind of silly not to acknowledge that a new precedent has then been set, whether or not I like it. There are an almost infinite number of features of baseball I'd take to the dumpster if it were in my power to do so---pop stars butchering the Star Spangled Banner; endless batting glove adjustments; sponsorships of pitching changes; etc.---but once they've been established and it's obvious that I'm in the minority, I can't see the point of losing much sleep over them. I may be persistent around here, but I'm not Don Quixote.

As to whether any juicers are already in the Hall, I'll leave it up to you Sherlock Hemlocks to out them with something beyond speculative percentages. That sort of BS doesn't interest me.

The question was simple: Do you think it's likely that someone is in the Hall who used a steroid? (And I'm not asking whether the question "interests" you, only what your best guess is.)


The only honest answer to that is that I have no idea, any more than you do. Trying to force an answer beyond that serves no purpose other than attempting to score some dubious rhetorical point.
   358. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:27 AM (#3890864)
These aren't differences of opinion. These are differences of fact.


Apparently, you and Andy have a difference of opinion about what constitutes a fact.

In some cases it's that, but in most cases it's more how we interpret those facts, and how we place them in context.
   359. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:34 AM (#3890872)
And sometimes a weak joke is just a weak joke.
   360. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:44 AM (#3890884)
Sorry, that one caught me looking. My bad.
   361. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:59 AM (#3890892)
Ray, how could there have been any "precedent" for steroids when McGwire was the first known juicer to appear on a ballot? Your problem is that you simply refuse to grant any legitimacy to the writers' viewpoint that steroids are fundamentally different from any other drug or any other "performance enhancer", and uniquely disqualifying.


Oh, I grant that people think steroids are "uniquely disqualifying." But that's because home run records fell. Why else do we see people proclaiming Roger Maris and Hank Aaron to be the "true" home run champions. And talking about "tainted" records and "frauds."

So I grant that people think steroids are suddenly uniquely disqualifying. I don't, however, grant any legitimacy to that viewpoint. Just because home run records fell after players started using steroids does not mean that steroids caused the home run records to fall. There were a lot of changes occurring at once in the 90s, from smaller ballparks to expansion, etc. What, did baseball players all suddenly discover steroids in the winter of 1992?

You disagree with that POV, and that's fine, but at some point your insistence on your repeatedly proclaimed "logic" might be accompanied by an acknowledgment that yours is a distinctly minority viewpoint.


You should know by now that I don't let popularity polls dictate my viewpoint. You've admitted that you do, and that's fine, but that's not how I operate. You're always citing imaginary opinion polls in an attempt to bolster your viewpoint, and in this very thread you've admitted that you would usher all steroids users into the Hall if the first one got in.

Here's one of the many differences between us on this question: I don't want juicers in the Hall of Fame, but I also respect the decision of 75% of the voters. And if (say) Barry Bonds gets elected in 2013, it would seem kind of silly not to acknowledge that a new precedent has then been set, whether or not I like it.


What if 75% of the electorate decided to keep a player out because he's gay. Would you "respect" that decision? Seriously now.

The question was simple: Do you think it's likely that someone is in the Hall who used a steroid? (And I'm not asking whether the question "interests" you, only what your best guess is.)

The only honest answer to that is that I have no idea, any more than you do. Trying to force an answer beyond that serves no purpose other than attempting to score some dubious rhetorical point.


So you have no problem opining on the "clear" effects of steroids on performance, even though you have no idea, but it's just too much to speculate whether one of dozens and dozens of players (those who played in the last half century when steroids were available) might have sampled a steroid at some point. All of a sudden, that's a bridge too far.
   362. CrosbyBird Posted: August 02, 2011 at 04:11 AM (#3890900)
I know it's insane to discuss something like this with a "principle" obsessed libertarian, but I'd allow alcohol advertising and not marijuana advertising for one main reason: With alcohol, the cat's already out of the bag, whereas with marijuana that's not the case. There's no particular reason of health or principle to distinguish the two products, but I see little point in encouraging weed versions of R.J. Reynolds to figure out ways to make pot smoking a regular habit for people who otherwise would never have thought of it. As I said, one Big Tobacco is enough.

This position is incomprehensible to me. People should be allowed to advertise two substances that are more dangerous than marijuana because the law already allows such advertisements? Why wouldn't you want to change the law to prevent those two substances from being advertised?

If someone says "Barry Bonds could not have had this performance without steroids" then they are making a claim of fact.

That doesn't sound like a claim of fact to me. It sounds like a hypothetical, which inherently requires subjective weighting of probabilities.

It sure sounds like a claim of fact to me. Not "probably could not" or "I suspect that he could not," but the absolutism of "could not." That's something that either is true or is not, and not something that is subject to alternate interpretation. There's no "he could or could not depending on how you define the word performance or the word without or the word steroid."

I can't say that someone insisting that Bonds only had his historically dominant performance due to performance-enhancing drugs is incorrect, because we have imperfect information, but I can very comfortably say that the imperfect information makes anyone stating that such a thing is certain dead wrong. I suspect that Andy will freely admit that he's not certain that Bonds used, but just that he considers the evidence to be strong enough to treat as if it is certain. (The same way I would say "there is no God" as shorthand for "there is not sufficient evidence to reach a positive conclusion regarding the existence of any particular divine being.")

That is an entirely subjective disagreement between us (and I freely admit that), because we're arguing about a moral position. I think it is immoral to pass (HOF-barring) judgment on the basis of "tainted performance" with the level of certainty that any voter or BTF poster could possibly have on this issue.
   363. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 02, 2011 at 12:33 PM (#3890989)
I'm not sure what's so hard to understand. If the writers decide to elect a known juicer (e.g. Bonds), how would that constitute a "minor break"?

I don't see that it would be a break at all. Players of Bonds's caliber otherwise eligible for election have been elected to the Hall of Fame without exception. Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro are not comps for Barry Bonds; thoughtful guys like Poz are starting to see and write exactly that. Poz wrote within the last week that McGwire and Palmeiro aren't and wouldn't be slam dunk HOFers even without the steroid taint.

At that point, how could they hold the line against the next juicer? It would make no sense at all.

The same way the line has been held against players who were better than Jim Rice. As to juicers in particular, you penalize them as best you can. One way is to adjust their statistics holding all ambiguities against them. Another is to give them very low grades for "character" within the five criteria delineated by the Hall.

Both are superior to applying the philosophy of "if she's not a virgin, I don't care if she's a whore" to the institution itself.
   364. Jack Keefe Posted: August 02, 2011 at 12:48 PM (#3890998)
Well Al the question was Barry Banns and now it is Should You Have TV Commericals for Mary Juana. Why the hell would you need TV Commericals for Dope Al. Is there any 1 who does not know about it. I took a pole of our Sox club and every 1 of the boys said he knew what the Whacky Weed was Al and several knew where to buy it in Seattle. The only one of the Chi. Sox who did not know what Mary Juana was is our skip Ozzie Guillen. Skip I said you are pulling my Legg it is a drug Skip. Keefe said Ozzie Guillen I know no artificial Stimulance. Let other managers take to their Mothers Little Helpers. Tony LaRussia has his Gin Rickeys and Buck Shoulder has his Triple Expressos and Mike Stocious prefers his Little Debbies. But Keefe I am Ozzie Guillen. I am high on Life. I do not know if he was kidding Al. You know he is from Vennasylvania where the Do Bee is a large Cash Crop. But sometimes he likes a joke though not a Polish Joke he says we must call them Slavic American Folkstories.
   365. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 02, 2011 at 01:18 PM (#3891015)
Ray, how could there have been any "precedent" for steroids when McGwire was the first known juicer to appear on a ballot? Your problem is that you simply refuse to grant any legitimacy to the writers' viewpoint that steroids are fundamentally different from any other drug or any other "performance enhancer", and uniquely disqualifying.

Oh, I grant that people think steroids are "uniquely disqualifying."


Now if you'll just concentrate on granting that one thought an ounce of respect, you might begin to comprehend where it's coming from, instead of invoking the usual crap about "boyhood heroes" in order to dismiss it. The rest of that part of your post is little more than an umpteenth recitation of the same jibberish you've been throwing out there for years, and there's no point in continuing the cycle.

What if 75% of the electorate decided to keep a player out because he's gay. Would you "respect" that decision? Seriously now.

That silly question pretty much reflects the seriousness of your limited lawyerly mind. Only a troll would equate being gay with using steroids, and since there's zero chance of any player being barred from the HoF because of his sexual preferences, the question has nothing to do with any possible scenario.

The question was simple: Do you think it's likely that someone is in the Hall who used a steroid? (And I'm not asking whether the question "interests" you, only what your best guess is.)

The only honest answer to that is that I have no idea, any more than you do. Trying to force an answer beyond that serves no purpose other than attempting to score some dubious rhetorical point.

So you have no problem opining on the "clear" effects of steroids on performance, even though you have no idea, but it's just too much to speculate whether one of dozens and dozens of players (those who played in the last half century when steroids were available) might have sampled a steroid at some point. All of a sudden, that's a bridge too far.


No, it's more like a bridge that leads to nowhere, which is pretty much where most of your rhetorical bridges would take us to. Name some names, and we can talk. Keep speculating on anonymous percentages based on conflicting claims fueled by your imagination, and you or your housekeeper can change your sheets.

---------------------------------------------

I know it's insane to discuss something like this with a "principle" obsessed libertarian, but I'd allow alcohol advertising and not marijuana advertising for one main reason: With alcohol, the cat's already out of the bag, whereas with marijuana that's not the case. There's no particular reason of health or principle to distinguish the two products, but I see little point in encouraging weed versions of R.J. Reynolds to figure out ways to make pot smoking a regular habit for people who otherwise would never have thought of it. As I said, one Big Tobacco is enough.

This position is incomprehensible to me. People should be allowed to advertise two substances that are more dangerous than marijuana because the law already allows such advertisements? Why wouldn't you want to change the law to prevent those two substances from being advertised?


I've said many times that in an ideal world, I'd strip tobacco companies of all rights to brand themselves and advertise, while at the same time leaving the sale and use of tobacco completely legal---which is exactly how I'd treat marijuana. But in the case of tobacco that has no chance of ever happening, and so I don't pay much attention to it outside of the occasional BTF thread. And though I'd like to restrict certain limited types of alcohol advertising, that's even more of a non-starter.

But that said, why on Earth would I ever want to let potential Big Marijuanas use their limitless powers of persuasion to create new users? I can see some doctrinaire libertarian whose only concern is "free speech" saying that, but that's more a reflection of the reductionist libertarian mindset than anything else. This is yet another case where given our completely opposing sets of assumptions, there's really very little to discuss in any sort of a productive way.

---------------------------------------------

I'm not sure what's so hard to understand. If the writers decide to elect a known juicer (e.g. Bonds), how would that constitute a "minor break"?

I don't see that it would be a break at all. Players of Bonds's caliber otherwise eligible for election have been elected to the Hall of Fame without exception. Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro are not comps for Barry Bonds; thoughtful guys like Poz are starting to see and write exactly that. Poz wrote within the last week that McGwire and Palmeiro aren't and wouldn't be slam dunk HOFers even without the steroid taint.


But I'm talking about a break from the McGwire precedent of refusing to vote for a statistically qualified player. Posnanski may believe that McGwire's unadjusted numbers wouldn't qualify him for HoF membership, but I doubt if without that taint, even 10% of the voters would have agreed with him.

But just to clarify what I meant, since it doesn't seem to have sunk in: I don't mean that with a Bonds election, voters would somehow be obliged to vote for every marginal juicer. If Poz thinks McGwire or Raffy don't make it on their unadjusted numbers, I'd disagree, but that's a quarrel about statistics, not principle. What I'm saying is that if the HoF decides that steroids aren't an automatic disqualifier for one candidate, they shouldn't be an automatic disqualifier for any candidate. IOW it would make no sense to vote for Bonds but not for A-Rod, or vice versa.

At that point, how could they hold the line against the next juicer? It would make no sense at all.

The same way the line has been held against players who were better than Jim Rice. As to juicers in particular, you penalize them as best you can. One way is to adjust their statistics holding all ambiguities against them. Another is to give them very low grades for "character" within the five criteria delineated by the Hall.


That line of reasoning obviously appeals to you, but not to me. AFAIC either steroids automatically disqualify a player or they don't, and if they don't, then I wouldn't try to calibrate a player's statistics to arrive at some sort of precise "discount", in order to come up with a final opinion. I'd simply note that the unwritten rules have changed, and adjust my voting accordingly.

Of course these two competing philosophies will get a concrete test in 2013, when we see the totals for Bonds and Clemens. As of this past January, we've got about 80% of the voters who won't vote for McGwire, but we have absolutely no idea what percentage of that 80% voted against him because of (a) the thought that steroids are an absolute disqualifier, or (b) a mental calculation that without steroids, McGwire's statistics would have fallen short.

Those two distinct philosophies came together in the case of McGwire, and they'd be even more likely to do so in the case of Palmiero. But in the case of a true slam dunk like Bonds, there will be no way to fudge the results. Once that vote is announced, we'll know for the first time where the writers truly stand on the steroids question.
   366. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: August 02, 2011 at 01:47 PM (#3891036)
I hesitate to jump into this discussion, but what the hell.

I grant that Andy and many sportswriters consider steroids to be uniquely disqualifying, but I've never seen an internally consistent argument for why this should be so. The reason greenies and spitballs keep getting thrown into the discussion is because the arguments against steroids break down into two camps.

Camp one says that steroids are disqualifying because, despite not being banned outright by baseball, they're illegal performance enhancing drugs with unknown, but likely negative, effects on health. To which "so are amphetamines, and yet amphetamine users are clearly well represented within the Hall" is a valid retort.

Camp two says that steroids are disqualifying because, despite not being banned outright by baseball, they're cheating in some nebulous sense. To which "throwing the spitter is cheating in a specific sense, and yet the plaque of celebrated spitballer Gaylord Perry hangs proudly in the Hall" is a valid retort.

It is my opionion that amphetamines are a perfect analogue for steroids, while the spitball is much less so. Like steroids, amphetamines are illegal to possess without a prescription. Like steroids, amphetamines are taken to improve performance. Like steroids, amphetamines were absolutely pervasive in baseball. Like steroids, amphetamines seem to have been considered part of a level playing field within the sport. Like steroids, amphetamines pose a significant health risk. Why, exactly, are amphetamines non-disqualifying, while steroids are disqualifying?
   367. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 02, 2011 at 02:44 PM (#3891078)
Oh, I grant that people think steroids are "uniquely disqualifying."

Now if you'll just concentrate on granting that one thought an ounce of respect, you might begin to comprehend where it's coming from, instead of invoking the usual crap about "boyhood heroes" in order to dismiss it.


The point is that the home run records are embedded into the fabric of this issue.

What if 75% of the electorate decided to keep a player out because he's gay. Would you "respect" that decision? Seriously now.

That silly question pretty much reflects the seriousness of your limited lawyerly mind. Only a troll would equate being gay with using steroids, and since there's zero chance of any player being barred from the HoF because of his sexual preferences, the question has nothing to do with any possible scenario.


As I've said, you're utterly devoid of any core principle. Everything to you is whim and fancy. There are no overriding guideposts.

Above you indicate that your position on steroids users in the Hall is completely hitched to your "respect" for the decision of 75% of the voters. So when I try to apply said "respect" for the decision of 75% of the voters to a hypothetical issue, all of a sudden you say that the two situations are not alike. Well, no sh!t. That's the whole point. That if an overriding principle -- here, respect for the electorate -- is worth a damn, you'll be able to apply it to dissimilar situations. The fact that you won't shows that you don't actually have an overriding principle at play here; you're operating purely on whim.

That's why you want to ban steroids users from the Hall, but not amphetamines users. Because, to you, no two situations are alike even in the abstract. One can't inform the other. Players took one drug to improve their performance, and that's totally okay, but then when they took another drug to improve their performance it went too far.
   368. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 02, 2011 at 02:45 PM (#3891080)
Chris,

Since I've weighed in on this sub-topic so many times for so many years, I think I'll let someone else answer it this time around. If you're really interested in considering alternative viewpoints, there are scores of past threads that shouldn't be too hard to find. Here's one that's only two pages long, but there are plenty more to choose from. At times it may seem a bit disjointed because The Great Nanny went and Trotskied Kevin's comments out of the record, but it's got the countering advantage of having more than the same few recent participants taking part.
   369. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 02, 2011 at 02:59 PM (#3891095)
Oh, I grant that people think steroids are "uniquely disqualifying."

Now if you'll just concentrate on granting that one thought an ounce of respect, you might begin to comprehend where it's coming from, instead of invoking the usual crap about "boyhood heroes" in order to dismiss it.

The point is that the home run records are embedded into the fabric of this issue.


Be that as it may, the underlying point---or "principle", since that's a word you seem to favor---is the finger on the scale between juicing players and non-juicing players. The effect on individual records is nothing but a symptomatic reflection of that finger's weight, though that elementary connecting point seems to be beyond your limited powers of comprehension.

What if 75% of the electorate decided to keep a player out because he's gay. Would you "respect" that decision? Seriously now.

That silly question pretty much reflects the seriousness of your limited lawyerly mind. Only a troll would equate being gay with using steroids, and since there's zero chance of any player being barred from the HoF because of his sexual preferences, the question has nothing to do with any possible scenario.

As I've said, you're utterly devoid of any core principle. Everything to you is whim and fancy. There are no overriding guideposts.

Above you indicate that your position on steroids users in the Hall is completely hitched to your "respect" for the decision of 75% of the voters. So when I try to apply said "respect" for the decision of 75% of the voters to a hypothetical issue, all of a sudden you say that the two situations are not alike. Well, no sh!t. That's the whole point. That if an overriding principle -- here, respect for the electorate -- is worth a damn, you'll be able to apply it to dissimilar situations. The fact that you won't shows that you don't actually have an overriding principle at play here; you're operating purely on whim.


What complete bullshit. My basic respect for the BBWAA is based on their record as it exists. If out of nowhere it began blackballing players for reasons that had nothing to do with the game on the field, that respect would evaporate.

That's why you want to ban steroids users from the Hall, but not amphetamines users. Because, to you, no two situations are alike even in the abstract. One can't inform the other. Players took one drug to improve their performance, and that's totally okay, but then when they took another drug to improve their performance it went too far.

Bait offered, bait refused. If you were really interested in reading my answer to this sort of tired rhetoric you would have paid attention the first hundred times around.
   370. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3891109)
So your distinction boils down to the fact that Major League Baseball put amphetamines in the Stimulants category as opposed to the Performance Enhancing Drugs category? Or because amphetamines "only restore a tired or hungover athlete to baseline"? Well, color me convinced.

If you've listened to interviews with former Major League Baseball players about their use of amphetamines, they're pretty universal in saying that they weren't just using them to return to baseline. They took them because they thought they improved focus and reaction time. I remember Joe Morgan referring to playing without using them as "playing naked" and saying it was insulting to have a team play naked against you because it meant that they didn't think they had to do everything possible to beat you. That indicates to me that they saw amphetamines as performance enhancing, not just performance restoring. Does intention matter, or is it just effect?

If it's just effect, this line of thought opens up a very slippery slope in which you have to assess the effectiveness of the method of cheating to determine whether or not it's disqualifying. You believe that steroids improve performance and that amphetamines only restore it. This is, of course, at best an educated guess, but let's let it stand. How about growth hormone? I happen to believe it's not that effective in the absence of steroids; others disagree. Disqualifying, non-disqualifying, or wait and see? Why? How about suspensions for a corked bat? We now believe that corking a bat is counterproductive. If it were to turn out that, say, Jim Thome hit every home run of his career with a corked bat, would you have him in or out.
   371. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3891119)
Again, Chris, every point you raise has already been dealt with, and not just by me, in innumerable threads going back to at least early 2005. In the time you spend composing your next round of similar questions, you could be finding the answers to them that have already been written. Just the question of "what constitutes enhancement" has been bandied back and forth for many hundreds of posts, in both Socratic dialogue and idiotic namecalling. It's all there.
   372. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3891120)
What complete ########. My basic respect for the BBWAA is based on their record as it exists. If out of nowhere it began blackballing players for reasons that had nothing to do with the game on the field, that respect would evaporate.


The point of the hypothetical was that maybe you should re-evaluate what is driving your decision to blackball steroids users, if you'd abandon that same mechanism (respect for the electorate) if the electorate blackballed gay players.

Blind adherence to an institution is rarely preferable to a conclusion formed by actual reason and thought.

Bait offered, bait refused. If you were really interested in reading my answer to this sort of tired rhetoric you would have paid attention the first hundred times around.


I'll just point out that one view is internally consistent, and one view is not.

My view:
1: players took amphetamines to improve their performance;
2: players took steroids to improve their performance.
3: if one drug improved performance, then the other did.

See how 1 and 2 are consistent? On the other hand, you argue that amphetamines are "restorative" and not "enhancing," but the problem is that you have to work too hard to attempt show that (and show that steroids are enhancing while amphetamines are not), and once you've worked that hard, you've succeeded only in demonstrating that it's irrational or dishonest to not treat the two drugs as broadly similar in the abstract, for the purposes we are discussing.

EDIT: In other words, once you have to work that hard to make the case for fine distinctions between how the two classes of drugs impact baseball performance, you're well past the level of knowledge we have about how steroids do so. That's why it is only rational to consider the effects of the two drugs in the abstract, which puts them in the same category for these purposes.
   373. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:45 PM (#3891129)
You're talking to someone who thinks logic is a character flaw, and you're asking why he thinks what he does? After spending five years denouncing Bonds/steroids, just a few paragraphs above the one that intrigued you he said that if Bonds gets elected he'd suddenly change his mind on the subject.

You can ridicule this all you want,
Thanks! I will!
but FWIW I've expressed this sentiment more than a few times in the past. Unlike you, I tend to respect the HoF's institutional judgment, even if I don't agree with all the writers' selections.

And don't faint in shock, but I might even think that the BBWAA knows a bit more about preserving baseball's institutional integrity than a random collection of Primates who fixate on nothing but statistics. Having expressed that most heretical of heresies, I just don't know how I can ever live with myself.
I'll wager that the median primate knows more about the game's non-statistical history, and has more respect for it, than the median HOF voter.
   374. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:49 PM (#3891138)
I'll wager that the median primate knows more about the game's non-statistical history, and has more respect for it, than the median HOF voter.

And I'll wager that I know more about the game's non-statistical history, and have more respect for it, than you and Ray combined and tripled. Not that that's saying all that much.
   375. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:51 PM (#3891141)
If someone says "Barry Bonds could not have had this performance without steroids" then they are making a claim of fact.

That doesn't sound like a claim of fact to me. It sounds like a hypothetical, which inherently requires subjective weighting of probabilities.
No, it's a claim of fact. There's nothing "subjective" about whether Bonds could perform as he did without steroids. Either it's true or it isn't.
   376. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 02, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3891145)
There are an almost infinite number of features of baseball I'd take to the dumpster if it were in my power to do so---pop stars butchering the Star Spangled Banner; endless batting glove adjustments; sponsorships of pitching changes; etc.---but once they've been established and it's obvious that I'm in the minority, I can't see the point of losing much sleep over them. I may be persistent around here, but I'm not Don Quixote.
That doesn't make the slightest bit of sense. None of your views "matter" in the sense of affecting outcomes, whether you're in the majority or minority. So why should whether you're in the majority or minority be relevant? The point of having and expressing an opinion is not whether you have the power to implement it.
   377. bads85 Posted: August 02, 2011 at 04:03 PM (#3891148)
And I'll wager that I know more about the game's non-statistical history, and have more respect for it, than you and Ray combined and tripled.


That will certainly get you into heaven.
   378. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 02, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3891155)
No, it's a claim of fact. There's nothing "subjective" about whether Bonds could perform as he did without steroids. Either it's true or it isn't.


Yes, like whether there is life on other planets, whether god exists, whether Andy would want to blackball steroids users if his boyhood idol's record hadn't fallen, etc.
   379. base ball chick Posted: August 02, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3891307)
chris mccllinch

- let me put 7 years of arguments into a couple sentences (aren't grrrls WONderful???!!! - actually, i hope you are one too seeing as how your name swings both ways)

3 words - home run record
3 words - barry lamar bonds

- it's like this
if mcgwire, sosa and bonds had not hit more than 61 home runs in a year, none of this would matter

because the record went down and because steroids were used, a lot of fans and a lot of BBWAA decided that IF you use steroids THEN you are a cheat - but only if it breaks home run records and you are an obvious hall of famer (or a "jerk" like clemens")

the majority of the BBWAA has decided that the use of amphetamines is a good ol boy thing and they have decided it wasn't immoral and it wasn't used to break The Sacred Home Run Record. illegal/bad for health/dangerous does not matter in the least

the majority of the BBWAA has decided that the ONLY reason that TSHRR was broken is because of steroid use - yes, this is not based on solid FACT, but like any other prejudice, that does not matter. therefore, they have decided that steroid use BEFORE they were banned = violation of The Character Clause - something which has never been trotted out to keep out inner circle hall of famers. they have also decided that IF you use steroids and hit home runs THEN it was (only) because of the steroids. it does not matter what it did or did not do to any other ballplayer and it does not matter if half the guys in the ML were using. the "cheat"/hate thingy is ONLY for HOFers

the majority of the BBWAA has decided based on zero evidence (see sammy sosa and jeff bagwell and jim thome and griffey jr) who they have decided is and is not a "cheat" - of course this includes anyone with a positive test or a confession

the majority of the BBWAA has no interest in considering any differences between BITGOD and now, such as difference in the ballparks, umpires, parks, bats, nutrition, training, lasix, surgery because of wanting to maitain the fantasy that any ol guy can go pick up a bat and play baseball and Real Men just used to do it For The Love Of The Game not because they are greedy jerks and therefore This Time It Counts - the "character clause" that is...

there is endless discussion about "facts" and "logic" and basically the same arguments have not changed kind of like the middle east folks

this pretty much sums up the past 7 years of roids talk
   380. CrosbyBird Posted: August 02, 2011 at 09:26 PM (#3891361)
I've said many times that in an ideal world, I'd strip tobacco companies of all rights to brand themselves and advertise, while at the same time leaving the sale and use of tobacco completely legal---which is exactly how I'd treat marijuana.

So far I'm with you. You're applying the same standard in a moral sense.

But in the case of tobacco that has no chance of ever happening, and so I don't pay much attention to it outside of the occasional BTF thread. And though I'd like to restrict certain limited types of alcohol advertising, that's even more of a non-starter.

Fair enough. It's that you can practically prevent one harm while you can't do anything about the other harms, so it doesn't matter what you'd want.

Where this is confusing is that it's sort of the opposite of your steroid position in the HOF. There you say "one confirmed juicer in, put them all in" when I'd expect you to say "I can't do anything about folks already in but I can certainly keep the door closed in the future." I'll admit that your most recent position surprised me quite a bit.

But that said, why on Earth would I ever want to let potential Big Marijuanas use their limitless powers of persuasion to create new users?

You're right that we'd disagree from a libertarian/statist perspective, but putting that aside, I don't think there could be such a thing as a "Big Marijuana." Remove the legality issues and you can grow pot for personal use practically for free. You can grow pot indoors in any climate with very simple equipment. You can't really do that with tobacco, which requires a particular climate and a lot of space.

I think your worries are about something that wouldn't exist.
   381. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 02, 2011 at 09:57 PM (#3891380)
I've said many times that in an ideal world, I'd strip tobacco companies of all rights to brand themselves and advertise, while at the same time leaving the sale and use of tobacco completely legal---which is exactly how I'd treat marijuana.

So far I'm with you. You're applying the same standard in a moral sense.

But in the case of tobacco that has no chance of ever happening, and so I don't pay much attention to it outside of the occasional BTF thread. And though I'd like to restrict certain limited types of alcohol advertising, that's even more of a non-starter.

Fair enough. It's that you can practically prevent one harm while you can't do anything about the other harms, so it doesn't matter what you'd want.

Where this is confusing is that it's sort of the opposite of your steroid position in the HOF. There you say "one confirmed juicer in, put them all in" when I'd expect you to say "I can't do anything about folks already in but I can certainly keep the door closed in the future." I'll admit that your most recent position surprised me quite a bit.


But how could the "steroids door" ever be re-closed once it's been knowingly opened? To watch (say) Bonds go in, and then still hold out against (say) A-Rod, or vice versa, would seem (at least to me) to make it into some sort of a personal issue, because by that point the principle of NO steroid users in the HoF would have already been violated, and the "damage" of one violation wouldn't be compounded (at least in my view) by any further selections.

Whereas in the case of marijuana and tobacco, the consistency principle is (to me) clearly overridden by the practical one. While putting a second or tenth known user in the Hall of Fame wouldn't damage the no paseran principle any more than the first one already had, the allowing of branding and advertising to an entirely new form of potential addiction would open a whole new can of worms, and I'd see no reason to want that to happen.

But that said, why on Earth would I ever want to let potential Big Marijuanas use their limitless powers of persuasion to create new users?

You're right that we'd disagree from a libertarian/statist perspective, but putting that aside, I don't think there could be such a thing as a "Big Marijuana." Remove the legality issues and you can grow pot for personal use practically for free. You can grow pot indoors in any climate with very simple equipment. You can't really do that with tobacco, which requires a particular climate and a lot of space.


But you can easily roll your own cigarettes, and how many people choose to do that? I think you're grossly underestimating both the appeal of convenience and the power of branding and advertising.** You'd have a certain number of "purists" who'd always want to grow their own for many reasons, but I think that the sad inevitability of branding and advertising would be to enroll a completely new, and larger, group of smokers, which is not something I'd want to encourage in any way.

**Just look at the seemingly infinite number of clever ways that designer vodkas employ to promote and jack up the sale of their brands. There is absolutely no reason to believe that "Big Marijuana", with an casually assumed cachet of hipness, couldn't easily develop that sort of market with competing brand loyalties. Which is exactly why I'd be 100% opposed to any sort of branding in the first place. Let a million marijuana plants bloom if that's what people want, but don't make it too damn easy (or profitable) to cultivate the habit.
   382. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 01:12 AM (#3891483)
the majority of the BBWAA has no interest in considering any differences between BITGOD and now, such as difference in the ballparks, umpires, parks, bats, nutrition, training, lasix, surgery because of wanting to maitain the fantasy that any ol guy can go pick up a bat and play baseball and Real Men just used to do it For The Love Of The Game not because they are greedy jerks and therefore This Time It Counts - the "character clause" that is...


This does a good job of listing some of the various factors at play. It's not surprising to me that with so many changes going on (ballparks, medical advances, nutrition, working out, steroids, teams becoming better at cultivating and identifying major league talent), the advantage in the 90s and 00s swung to the hitter. Why we should expect it not to swing in one direction, given everything that was going on, is odd. Why we should boil it all down to steroids is bizarre.
   383. CrosbyBird Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#3891544)
Again, Chris, every point you raise has already been dealt with, and not just by me, in innumerable threads going back to at least early 2005.

Just to clarify, the reason that there's still a discussion is because none of those points have been "dealt with." If they had been, we'd say it's a difference in first principles and that's the end of it. But you don't have identifiable and consistent first principles, which means your position seems to be little more than "because that's the line I want to draw today."

If you have a clear, comprehensible position, then I should be able to predict your future decision-making based on that position. And I can't. If we discovered a new substance that people claimed was performance-enhancing for baseball, and lots of players were taking it, and offensive numbers went up, I don't know how you'd decide whether it was not worth seriously considering (like the way you characterize amphetamines) or a huge HOF-ban-worthy problem (like the way you characterize steroids). You don't have a consistent set of criteria.

You could probably figure out my position pretty quickly, because I am using consistent and clear principles to support it.
   384. CrosbyBird Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:46 AM (#3891550)
But how could the "steroids door" ever be re-closed once it's been knowingly opened? To watch (say) Bonds go in, and then still hold out against (say) A-Rod, or vice versa, would seem (at least to me) to make it into some sort of a personal issue, because by that point the principle of NO steroid users in the HoF would have already been violated, and the "damage" of one violation wouldn't be compounded (at least in my view) by any further selections.

So if I steal from you once, I can steal from you in perpetuity because the principle of "not stealing from you" has been violated? Or once someone loses their virginity there's no reason not to have sex with everyone?

Whereas in the case of marijuana and tobacco, the consistency principle is (to me) clearly overridden by the practical one. While putting a second or tenth known user in the Hall of Fame wouldn't damage the no paseran principle any more than the first one already had, the allowing of branding and advertising to an entirely new form of potential addiction would open a whole new can of worms, and I'd see no reason to want that to happen.

I don't get why you'd create this dichotomy on this line. If steroid users in the HOF taint the institution, don't ten inductees taint it worse than one?

But you can easily roll your own cigarettes, and how many people choose to do that? I think you're grossly underestimating both the appeal of convenience and the power of branding and advertising.** You'd have a certain number of "purists" who'd always want to grow their own for many reasons, but I think that the sad inevitability of branding and advertising would be to enroll a completely new, and larger, group of smokers, which is not something I'd want to encourage in any way.

I guess. I'm not sure that's a problem, but if you think it is, I can accept your position even if I disagree with it. I'd say encouraging smoking pot at the expense of more dangerous alcohol and tobacco would be a net social good.

I can't remember the last time I bought something that I already knew existed and that I wasn't already inclined to purchase based on an advertisement. Maybe I'm just strange that way.
   385. VoodooR Posted: August 03, 2011 at 09:27 AM (#3891640)
I just read this all tonight.

Brian C wins the thread.

Ray and Andy lose the thread, per usual. It would be nice if these threads could be edited to avoid their posts.
   386. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:40 PM (#3891700)
But how could the "steroids door" ever be re-closed once it's been knowingly opened? To watch (say) Bonds go in, and then still hold out against (say) A-Rod, or vice versa, would seem (at least to me) to make it into some sort of a personal issue, because by that point the principle of NO steroid users in the HoF would have already been violated, and the "damage" of one violation wouldn't be compounded (at least in my view) by any further selections.

So if I steal from you once, I can steal from you in perpetuity because the principle of "not stealing from you" has been violated?


But in the case of the Hall of Fame, there's also the principle of treating players with equal character flaws (in this case, steroids) equally. If for whatever reason the consensus about the moral culpability of the Black Sox were to shift, and Joe Jackson were to be elected, it would be silly to refuse to induct any of the other seven players**.

Or once someone loses their virginity there's no reason not to have sex with everyone?

I think a better analogy would be Newt Gingrich complaining about Bill Clinton's adultery, or vice versa. Once the first known roider got inducted, what standing would the writers who voted for him have to moralize about the next one?*** And while the minority holdouts who left the first one off their ballots would have an internal feeling of consistency in not voting for any of the subsequent ones, in reality they'd be like the last Japanese soldiers wandering around some otherwise deserted South Sea island, still fighting World War II, and not realizing that their Emperor had surrendered in 1945.


Whereas in the case of marijuana and tobacco, the consistency principle is (to me) clearly overridden by the practical one. While putting a second or tenth known user in the Hall of Fame wouldn't damage the no paseran principle any more than the first one already had, the allowing of branding and advertising to an entirely new form of potential addiction would open a whole new can of worms, and I'd see no reason to want that to happen.

I don't get why you'd create this dichotomy on this line. If steroid users in the HOF taint the institution, don't ten inductees taint it worse than one?


Not substantively, if the first roiders' use had been known at the time of his induction. If it turned out that a player assumed to have been clean had subsequently been outed, that would be an embarrassment, but it wouldn't have been in the category of a conscious decision. The moral stigma (if you see it that way to begin with) would totally be on the player, not on those he'd deceived. You might call the deceivees gullible, but that's another question altogether.

But you can easily roll your own cigarettes, and how many people choose to do that? I think you're grossly underestimating both the appeal of convenience and the power of branding and advertising. You'd have a certain number of "purists" who'd always want to grow their own for many reasons, but I think that the sad inevitability of branding and advertising would be to enroll a completely new, and larger, group of smokers, which is not something I'd want to encourage in any way.

I guess. I'm not sure that's a problem, but if you think it is, I can accept your position even if I disagree with it. I'd say encouraging smoking pot at the expense of more dangerous alcohol and tobacco would be a net social good.


I'm not sure why there'd be a tradeoff. How many existing drinkers and cigarette smokers do you really think would give up those habits once they began smoking marijuana?

I can't remember the last time I bought something that I already knew existed and that I wasn't already inclined to purchase based on an advertisement. Maybe I'm just strange that way.

I can't read your mind, but if everyone were as resistant to advertising as everyone says they are, advertising wouldn't exist. It exists because it works.

The reflexive rejoinder to this is that advertising is all about creating "brand loyalty", but that concentrates exclusively on the motivation of the advertiser, and totally ignores the fact that the more a product is advertised in the aggregate, the more that the overall demand for that product increases. George Washington Hill may have only intended for women to "Reach for a Lucky, instead of a sweet" when he composed one of the greatest slogans in Madison Avenue history, but the resulting explosion in cigarette sales to women didn't accrue solely to the American Tobacco Company.

**That is, if their stats were to justify it, which they don't---but the point remains.

***Assuming that both candidates were statistical slam dunks, and that mathematical "steroid discounts" weren't part of the discussion.
   387. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:44 PM (#3891705)
Ray and Andy lose the thread, per usual. It would be nice if these threads could be edited to avoid their posts.

If your brain matched your anguish, you wouldn't be able to read this.
   388. CrosbyBird Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:15 PM (#3891733)
But in the case of the Hall of Fame, there's also the principle of treating players with equal character flaws (in this case, steroids) equally. If for whatever reason the consensus about the moral culpability of the Black Sox were to shift, and Joe Jackson were to be elected, it would be silly to refuse to induct any of the other seven players**.

Eddie Cicotte comes to mind as one of the other candidates that might well be HOF-worthy.

Do you think it would be "silly" to refuse to induct any player that is as statistically qualified as Jim Rice? Doesn't that violate the principle or treating players with equal statistical merit equally?

I think a better analogy would be Newt Gingrich complaining about Bill Clinton's adultery, or vice versa. Once the first known roider got inducted, what standing would the writers who voted for him have to moralize about the next one?***

One the first Jim Rice gets elected, what standing would the writers who voted for him have to exclude the next statistically unqualified candidate? The idea that one mistake doesn't mean you discard your principles forever.

Also, YOU never discarded your principles just because 75% of the writers did. If 99% of the writers vote in Joe Jackson and 1% hold out because of gambling, that 1% is perfectly consistent as a matter of principle to continue to reject Pete Rose for the same offense. It sounds like you're saying "I think a player should be out of HOF, morally speaking, if 75% of the baseball writers are unwilling to put such a player in the HOF." I suppose that's a position you could take, but I seriously doubt you'd really embrace that position. That's why Ray's question about "what if more than 25% of the writers refused to induct a gay candidate" is reasonable.

allowing of branding and advertising to an entirely new form of potential addiction would open a whole new can of worms, and I'd see no reason to want that to happen.


Marijuana isn't addictive. That's a huge difference.

I'm not sure why there'd be a tradeoff. How many existing cigarette smokers and drinkers do you really think would give up those habits once they began smoking marijuana?

Smokers? Very few, because they're already addicted. Drinkers? I think quite a lot of them would at least reduce their drinking in favor of marijuana for a variety of reasons: shorter recovery, no hangovers, less impairment, convenience, and personal preference. New adopters similarly will sometimes preference pot over alcohol.

The reflexive rejoinder to this is that advertising is all about creating "brand loyalty", but that concentrates exclusively on the motivation of the advertiser, and totally ignores the fact that the more a product is advertised in the aggregate, the more that the overall demand for that product increases.

Are you sure the cause isn't reversed? That overall demand increasing for a product doesn't increase the amount of advertising? After all, if there's higher demand, there's more value in seizing market share.

Advertisers try to generate desire but it is exceptionally rare for adult people (at least the people I associate with) to regularly purchase products they didn't want but for the ads. It's not the advertising that drives people to smoking. It may get someone to be aware of the "merits" of smoking and convince them to try a pack to see what's it's all about, but the addictiveness of the product itself, not the ads, are what keep them coming back.

Tobacco advertisement is a different animal than marijuana advertising could ever be, because you can't ever get "hooked" on marijuana.
   389. CrosbyBird Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:17 PM (#3891735)
Ray and Andy lose the thread, per usual. It would be nice if these threads could be edited to avoid their posts.

There's an ignore feature, you know. I don't use it, but it's there.
   390. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3891740)
I think a better analogy would be Newt Gingrich complaining about Bill Clinton's adultery, or vice versa. Once the first known roider got inducted, what standing would the writers who voted for him have to moralize about the next one?


Andy, haven't you noted in the past that the "roider" candidates break down into:

* players like Bonds and Clemens who were sure HOFers before any "taint";
* players like McGwire and Palmeiro who people argue wouldn't have been HOF-level players but for steroids. The idea of applying a "steroids discount" is in play here (though I of course find the notion silly, since it's impossible to calculate).

I should have broken this down into different voter types, not player types, since there are voters who will apply a straight ban and others who will discount and others who will have some other nonsensical mechanism for voting. I'm too lazy to revise my post now, but the point is this: Just because Bonds were to get in does not necessarily mean voters would be ushering all steroids players in. "They" could just be applying a discount or some other such penalty. In that case it wouldn't necessarily be inconsistent to then keep Palmeiro out.

(This post is mumbled but I'm too lazy to clean it up. Hopefully you can see a point among the wreckage.)
   391. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3891749)
Also, YOU never discarded your principles just because 75% of the writers did. If 99% of the writers vote in Joe Jackson and 1% hold out because of gambling, that 1% is perfectly consistent as a matter of principle to continue to reject Pete Rose for the same offense. It sounds like you're saying "I think a player should be out of HOF, morally speaking, if 75% of the baseball writers are unwilling to put such a player in the HOF." I suppose that's a position you could take, but I seriously doubt you'd really embrace that position. That's why Ray's question about "what if more than 25% of the writers refused to induct a gay candidate" is reasonable.


Basically, by Andy's logic as stated here, he should agree with 100% of the BBWAA selections and disagree with 0% of them. This is because he's stated that once 75% of the voters agree, he will simply co-opt their judgment as his own. That is, until such time as they do something he REALLY doesn't like - such as refusing to induct a gay player - but as he's noted we haven't reached that point yet, so by Andy's own logic he does not -- cannot -- disagree with a single thing the electorate has ever done.

If the core principle Andy is operating under is respect for the judgment of the electorate, then he should apply that core principle across the board, in all cases thus far and for all issues, until such point (not yet reached) where they do something that causes him to abandon that core principle.
   392. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3891761)
If the core principle Andy is operating under is respect for the judgment of the electorate,
Is that really a "principle," as opposed to the abdication of principles?

(As evidence, I cite this quote:
I think a better analogy would be Newt Gingrich complaining about Bill Clinton's adultery, or vice versa. Once the first known roider got inducted, what standing would the writers who voted for him have to moralize about the next one?*** And while the minority holdouts who left the first one off their ballots would have an internal feeling of consistency in not voting for any of the subsequent ones, in reality they'd be like the last Japanese soldiers wandering around some otherwise deserted South Sea island, still fighting World War II, and not realizing that their Emperor had surrendered in 1945.
In other words, if you're in the minority, you should simply give up and go along with the majority.)
   393. Brian C Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#3891762)
Brian C wins the thread.

I'm on cloud nine! I'm king of the world! Right now, you like me! And thank you, Ray Charles, for living!

(Now where's Halle Berry?)
   394. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 04:26 PM (#3891792)
Is that really a "principle," as opposed to the abdication of principles?


Good point. The real question is how Andy could possibly have formed an opinion on this issue before the esteemed voters handed down their ruling from on high.
   395. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3891813)
chris mccllinch

- let me put 7 years of arguments into a couple sentences (aren't grrrls WONderful???!!! - actually, i hope you are one too seeing as how your name swings both ways)


Sorry to disappoint, Lisa; I'm a dude.

And yeah, I've noticed that a lot of the operating principle seems to be "steroid users are ######## and cheating cheaters, unlike those poor amphetamine users who were just trying to recover after hanging out with Whitey, Billy, and the Mick."
   396. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:12 PM (#3891828)
The moral thing to do doesn't depend on my personal level of skepticism (which is actually quite low, as I've noted before). It's simply not right to pass punitive judgment on another person when there is significant uncertainty, and no reasonable human being could deny that there is significant uncertainty on whether Bonds used steroids, or whether steroids are enhancing at all, or how enhancing steroids are (especially relative to amphetamines).

I don't think there is *significant* uncertainty around whether Bonds used steroids or other PEDs, although there is still some small amount.

Stepping away from Bonds for a moment, if you're convinced that Player A used, then the uncertainty around how much his performance was aided by such use is entirely Player A's responsibility, not ours. Moreover it was the result of his breaking rules and/or laws and subsequently failing to come clean about it that caused the uncertainty. It's hard to see why such a player should get the benefit of the doubt in these circumstances.

Bonds is, of course, a special case - a clear HOFer even before his late career surge - so unless you're simply enforcing a moral penalty for steroid use, it's hard to justify keeping him out of the HOF.
   397. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:18 PM (#3891839)
Moreover it was the result of his breaking rules and/or laws and subsequently failing to come clean about it that caused the uncertainty. It's hard to see why such a player should get the benefit of the doubt in these circumstances.


Logically, because we've already established that players using other illegal PEDs get the benefit of the doubt. I'm completely fine with not giving steroid users the benefit of the doubt, provided that you're ready to start kicking amphetamines users out of the Hall.
   398. AROM Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3891860)
* players like Bonds and Clemens who were sure HOFers before any "taint";
* players like McGwire and Palmeiro who people argue wouldn't have been HOF-level players but for steroids. The idea of applying a "steroids discount" is in play here (though I of course find the notion silly, since it's impossible to calculate).

I should have broken this down into different voter types, not player types, since there are voters who will apply a straight ban and others who will discount and others who will have some other nonsensical mechanism for voting. I'm too lazy to revise my post now, but the point is this: Just because Bonds were to get in does not necessarily mean voters would be ushering all steroids players in. "They" could just be applying a discount or some other such penalty. In that case it wouldn't necessarily be inconsistent to then keep Palmeiro out.


There are likely a mix of steroid-adjusters and steroid moralists in the voting group. The problem is a 50/50 mix is very bad news for guys like Bonds and Clemens. My estimate is that 60% of the voters let steroids affect their votes. Here's how I get there:

Mark McGwire is basically Harmon Killebrew. Slow, little defensive value, low average, tons of homers and walks. Killebrew didn't get in on the first try, but in his 4th year got a bit over 80% of the vote. McGwire remains around 20%. So 20% put him in regardless, 60% would put his stats in but say no due to some consideration of steroids, and 20% think McGwire's batting average is too low anyway.

Let's say that for Bonds/Clemens, only one percent vote no without considering steroids - the same votes who deny Seaver, Ryan, Brett, and Rickey from being unanimous. 39% say they are in. Now they need 60% of the 60% anti-steroids crew to get their additional 36% and put Bonds/Clemens at 75% overall.

I fear that the moralists out-number the steroid adjusters. As you say, steroid-adjusting is impossible to calculate. So we need to fight the good fight against the moralists, and make the case that steroid use is not an evil of a significantly higher order than use of greenies, spitballs, racism, wife-beating, umpire-spitting, or whatever other sins baseball players have committed.
   399. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:35 PM (#3891861)
Stepping away from Bonds for a moment, if you're convinced that Player A used, then the uncertainty around how much his performance was aided by such use is entirely Player A's responsibility, not ours.


A fair-minded person judging the player's "responsibility" would consider that:

1. At the time these players were using, they were breaking no rule and possibly no law (depending on the facts and the jurisdiction). That said, it _was_ likely that most of them were breaking a law, but if so, it was not one that was particularly being enforced, especially not as to users. But yes, many of them were breaking a law. Typically that's not all that remarkable in and of itself to the people now doing the remarking.

Moving along, a fair-minded person judging the player's "responsibility" would also consider that:


2. Nobody cared that they were using.

3. They were taking the risk that steroids (and working out) would hurt their performance or durability, not help it (and it still to this day is unclear what impact steroids have).

4. Players of past generations had used drugs to enhance their performance, without such repercussions, and steroids were simply another class of drug.

5. A huge percentage of their fellow players were using, including both pitchers and hitters and stars and scrubs and minor leaguers.

6. Almost all other players didn't care about such use, didn't view it as cheating, and didn't try to hide it from each other; they discussed it openly with each other and, in fact, freely passed around the names of their dealers and suppliers.

7. A fair-minded person would note that just because moral outrage swelled up much later, that doesn't mean the player could reasonably have predicted years earlier that he'd become a villain for doing something that nobody -- including almost all other players -- cared about and something that was similar to what players of past generations had done.

Moreover it was the result of his breaking rules and/or laws and subsequently failing to come clean about it that caused the uncertainty.


It was not necessarily a result of breaking laws. And for players before 2004, it was not breaking rules.

As to "failing to come clean," if you did something that was perfectly unremarkable at the time, and years later were going to be treated with scorn for it and have your career accomplishments devalued and your reputation besmirched, you might "fail to come clean" as well.

At most they jaywalked, and they're now being executed for murder.

It's hard to see why such a player should get the benefit of the doubt in these circumstances.


See above.
   400. AROM Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#3891876)
Barry Bonds had a 169 OPS+ during his final, age 42 season. Bonds has a birthday right on the edge of the standard seasonal age cutoff, he played almost half that season at age 43. For this season and the two preceeding it, steroids testing was in place. While we can't be sure who got away with what, I think it is likely that he was clean in those seasons. Partially because his legal troubles had already begun, and I doubt he would have taken the same risks he might have found reasonable in say, 2000.

Exactly how long could he have been a productive, or even great hitter? As a fan I feel deprived of knowing how far Barry could have lasted. He should have had the same chances to defy father time that Nolan Ryan or Jamie Moyer had. I blame Bud Selig, I blame the owners/GMs, and I blame the holier than thou moralists in the media for their part in creating a situation where the "controversy" of his signing is considered to outweigh the benefits to a team of having a DH who can still really, really hit the ball.

Did Bonds have 1-2 decent years left? Could he have hung around for another 5? Now we'll never know.
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